BMW i3 Concept Coupe at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show

  • Looks like: We now have a better idea of the production i3’s appearance
  • Defining characteristics: All-electric drivetrain, carbon fiber and aluminum construction, minimalist interior
  • Ridiculous features: Oklahoma State University color scheme
  • Chances of being mass-produced: Not out of the question; a two-door i3 is a logical addition to the lineup

The BMW i3 Concept Coupe is a two-door version of the fully electric i3 Concept four-door hatchback that BMW has paraded around for more than a year. Doesn’t sound that special, right? It wouldn’t be if it didn’t give us a better idea of what the upcoming production model might look like, but it does.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

For one, the i3 Concept Coupe has traditional doors as opposed to the whimsical transparent ones seen on the four-door i3 Concept. The body is made of weight-saving carbon fiber, and the passenger compartment is made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. This precludes the need for traditional B-pillars, making it easier to get in and out of the rear seats. Alloy wheels measure 20 inches in diameter but wear relatively narrow tires for lower rolling resistance.


The i3 Concept Coupe’s cabin is a study in minimalism. BMW’s traditional analog instrumentation has been replaced with a screen mounted on the dashboard in front of the two-spoke steering wheel. A separate screen in the center of the dash shows the familiar entertainment and navigation functions operated by the console iDrive controller. The interior wouldn’t be complete without eucalyptus wood trim from a sustainably managed forest — check. The seats are covered in textured wool.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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