The cat is out of the bag for BMW's new ultra-green i3 city car, with a series of patent application images surfacing online this week.
The images reveal what is likely to be the little Bimmer's final production design and, when compared to TMR's own spy photos, it's hard to refute their accuracy.
The patent images confirm that last year's updated i3 Concept Coupe provided an accurate - if overly dramatised - look at the final production model.
The final i3 will retain the original concept's five-door design, while sticking with the 'covered-over' door design and quirk rear-quarter window of the i3 Concept Coupe.
The more recent concept's more conventional headlight design will also feature, mimicking the new connected light-to-grille style worn by BMW's latest models.
The i3 is expected to make its global debut early next year, launching with both electric and a petrol-electric hybrid options, depending on the market.
Final specifications are still to be released, but in concept form, the electric i3 features a 125kW and 250Nm electric motor that offers a driving range of 130 to 160 kilometres.
The plug-in hybrid i3, known as the i3 REx, will add a version of BMW Motorrad's two-cylinder petrol engine to boost the hatch's range to around 400km.
Like the Holden Volt, the petrol engine will work to power a generator that will in turn charge the i3 REx's battery pack on the go, kicking in only when the pack's charge falls to a certain point.
Pricing is also still to be revealed, although recent interviews with BMW executives have pegged the i3 at around $US45-50,000 - or the price of a well-equipped 3 Series sedan in the US market.
This means that, in Australia - where buyers do not benefit from any government incentives on green cars - the i3 could cost more than $70,000.
For now, it's all reports and speculations. Watch for official details to surface in the coming months.
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