It's been a while since we've seen prototypes of the BMW i3 making the rounds around Germany, but today we get a glimpse of the entry-level EV with new body work and possibly fitted with a range-extending engine.
When the i3 was revealed earlier this year, BMW engineers divulged to Autoblog that the automaker plans to fit a 600cc, two-cylinder engine pull from its motorcycle line to the REx model. That variant is slated to hit the market soon after the standard electrically-powered i3 goes on sale in 2013. The system - similar to the Chevrolet Volt's, but without feeding any power directly to the wheels - would extend the 100-mile range and be mounted alongside the 125kW electric motor (the same fitted to the Active E and i8) in the rear. But why do we think this is the REx model? Stickers on the doors and hatch state "Hybrid Test Vehicle."
Stylistically, the profile of the i3 has carried over from the concept, including the compact rear window between the B- and C-pillars and the suicide rear doors. Interestingly, BMW appears to have nixed the rear door's handles, so in order to enter the back seats, you'll have to open the front doors first, ala the Mini Countryman. The front and rear light assemblies appear to be closer to production spec, as does the hood and hatch. And with development well underway, we should see the production version early next year.