This latest rendering of the long-rumored return of the Isetta brand, an offshoot of BMW, looks much more modern than any previous rendering that we've seen of the rolling mini-retro-mobile. According to the accompanying report on Autocar, the rear-engined zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) has indeed been approved by BMW, though we've heard nothing truly official as of yet. If true, the U.S. would be the likely first market to see the Isetta, possibly as early as 2012.

At this point, BMW is reportedly still deciding whether or not to offer both electric and internally-combusted versions of the new city car. BMW has quite a few small engines currently powering their line of motorcycles, and one of these engines could make an appearance in the rear of the vehicle. Possible powertrains also include a hybrid, natural gas or even fuel cell variants. Because of the high investment required to get the proposed vehicle off the ground, BMW could partner with Daimler-Benz which already offers its own tiny car under the smart brand. Rumors also link long-time BMW partner Manga Steyr to the project. Interestingly, the Canadian based auto parts giant has recently confirmed that they are working on hybrid vehicle development.

[Source: Autocar]