China-spec 3 Series EV to be called i3

It's no secret BMW is slowly electrifying its entire lineup – from the iX to the i4 and even the upcoming XM. But it seems a new model will be joining the brand's growing EV family soon – the i3. No, we're not talking about the electric hatchback that we've become familiar with. Instead, it's an EV version of the current-generation 3 Series.

Electric BMW 3 Series makes early debut in China image

Photos provided by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology gave us an early preview of the upcoming i3 sedan. In terms of design, it looks very much like the 3 Series but with a few minor styling tweaks. Thankfully, BMW didn't add a huge kidney grille similar to the i4, but they are now closed-off. At the rear, there are no exhaust tips, while an eDrive 35L badge is added to the trunk. Meanwhile, the bumper now comes with an integrated diffuser. As with most electric BMW models, blue accents can be found all over.

While there is no specific information about the EV's powertrain, a few details have been listed on the MIIT website. Specifically, power output is rated at 250kW which translates to 335 horsepower. Since it says eDrive at the rear, it will likely be rear-wheel drive only. For reference, the all-wheel-drive i4 M50 variant continues to use BMW's xDrive nomenclature for all-wheel drive.

Electric BMW 3 Series makes early debut in China image

Similar to the powertrain, no photos of the i3 sedan's interior were provided. However, expect it to be similar to what you'd find in the standard 3 Series. The main differences would likely be the gauges and iDrive, which would now show battery and motor parameters.

BMW has yet to announce when the i3 sedan will debut in China, but it might not be long now. The more important question is whether the automaker will retain the same name for other markets. For those unfamiliar, the i3 hatchback is still in production to this day and is very different from the sedan we see here. Hopefully, we won't have to wait long to know more.