When BMW released the i3, it was one of the most unique and interesting Bimmers since the Isetta, back in the 1950s. In fact, it brought back memories of the Isetta for many BMW enthusiasts, for its strange shape, compact size and quirky nature. Now that the i3’s time is coming to an end, though, BMW will once again be without such a unique and interesting car. So why not bring one back and, while it’s at it, bring back the iconic name? Why not bring back the BMW Isetta?
It’s actually the perfect time for the Isetta to make a comeback. When the BMW Isetta was built, it was actually a borrowed Italian design that BMW used to sell during a difficult time for both BMW and Germany, following the second World War. It was designed to be inexpensive, fuel efficient and easy to drive and park. While the world isn’t exactly facing the aftermath of a devastating world war, we are facing a new crisis — climate change.
Due to climate change, the need for efficient EVs is more pressing than ever before. So something extremely small, with an electric powetrain that focuses on efficiency, rather than performance, might be just what we need right now. Many European cities are planning on banning internal combustion in just a few years’ time, so an ultra-compact EV supermini like an electric BMW Isetta would likely sell well and become quite popular.
If BMW were to make such a car, it could be similar to an i3, only even smaller. Give it a bespoke carbon fiber chassis, something the Bavarians have the know-how and tooling to build, a small rear-mounted electric motor, a battery capable of around 150-200 miles of range and a quirky design and BMW would have a great little city car.
Now, one might say that I just described an i3 and that’s true, that is the exact recipe for the i3. However, the BMW i3 sort of is the right car for right now, it just likely debuted five or six years too early. When it was released back in 2014, the world might not have been ready for such a quirky and unique car, which is why it didn’t start selling well until the last two years or so. Now that the world seems ready to embrace such an electric oddball, the i3 is too old; with outdated tech and an obsolete battery range.
So it might make sense to release a new version but one that leans into its electric city car-nature even further than the i3 and with even quirkier styling, something to fit this modern, crazy world. That something could be an electric BMW Isetta and it would be awesome.