BMW has unveiled the i3 eDrive35L, a fully electric four-door sedan based on the long-wheelbase version of the 3-Series that will be available in China from May 2022. The model that appeared in a series of leaked photos last December will be locally assembled and is tailored for the needs of Chinese customers. The electric sedan expands the EV range of BMW while hinting at the upcoming facelifted 3-Series.
The first fully-electric 3-Series, as BMW calls it, gets the i3 eDrive35L moniker to distinguish it from the old i3 hatchback. Design-wise it gets a new set of LED headlights that will most likely be carried over to the facelifted 3-Series range, a covered kidney grille signifying its electric nature, a redesigned front bumper with different intakes, new side sills similar to the i4, aero wheels, plus a new rear bumper with an integrated diffuser. BMW didn’t show pictures of the interior, but confirmed it gets the latest Operating System 8.
The i3 eDrive35L has a wheelbase of 2,966 mm (116.8 inches) which according to our math is 115 mm (4.5 inches) longer than the regular 3-Series, and 5 mm (0.2 inches) longer than the 3-Series Li (China) and the 3-Series Gran Limousine (India). With a length of 4,872 mm (191.8 mm), the EV is also 43 mm (1.7 inches) longer than the aforementioned models, due to the redesigned bumpers. However, the electric conversion had its toll on the boot which is 410 liters (14.5 cubic feet) against the 480 liters (17 cubic feet) of the ICE-powered long-wheelbase 3-Series.
The model is fitted with the Gen5 eDrive powertrain that is already used in the iX3, the i4, and the iX. Here, the rear-mounted electric motor produces 282 hp (210 kW / 285 PS) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque, allowing a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration in 6.2 seconds.
The floor-mounted battery has a capacity of 70.3 kWh gross (66.1 kWh net) which is good for a 526 km (327 miles) range measured under the CLTC protocols with an energy consumption of 14.3 kWh/100 km. BMW says the battery can charge up to 95 kW DC and 11 kW AC. In the fastest charging option, the battery needs 35 minutes to charge from 10 to 80 percent, adding 97 km (60 miles) of range in 10 minutes.
The suspension has been locally tuned specifically for the Chinese road conditions by the R&D department of BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. In the same context, a number of components were adapted “to the requirements of the supply chain in China”. The i3 eDrive35L will be assembled exclusively for the Chinese market in Lydia Shenyang by BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd.
Together with the new car unveiling, BMW published photos of its entire electric range including the i3, the i4, the i3 eDrive35L, the iX, the iX3, the upcoming iX1, and the i7 flagship that will debut on April 20 at the 2022 Beijing Auto Show.
Some of the family photos also include the BMW CE 04 Electric Scooter, as well as the MINI Cooper SE which will soon be replaced by a new and fully electric generation of the MINI Hatch. Overall, the BMW Group (BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce) wants EVs to account for half of its global sales by 2030.