View Full Version : BMW Baby brand (Isetta?) Confirmed

03-27-2008, 03:07 PM


It's official – BMW is working on a top-secret new eco-friendly model which could mark the rebirth of the famous Isetta badge.

Auto Express first broke news of the plans to revive the name on a green city runabout back in Issue 989, and now company chairman Norbert Reit*hofer has revealed further details of the programme.

The initiative, known internally as Project i, includes development of an all-new urban runabout that will com*plement the existing BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce ranges. Accord*ing to Reithofer, the i stands for innovation, rather than Isetta – although bringing back the brand behind the original microcar would make perfect sense for the German firm’s fourth potential model line-up.

Engineers working on the project are currently evaluating which technologies the Smart ForTwo rival will use, with advanced electric systems and fuel-efficient petrol and diesel powerplants under consideration. “We will look at all these things before we decide whether this might be a sub-brand for BMW or MINI, or whether it is a standalone marque,” said Reithofer.

The firm already has a hybrid version of its new X6 cross*over SUV in the pipeline, while its Efficient Dynamics technologies are available on MINI and BMW road cars. They include a stop-start system to cut CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy, and a clever set-up that harnesses energy generated under braking to recharge the battery. Aerodynamic tweaks to items such as the wheels and wing mirrors also help to minimise drag.

The original Isetta bubble car was a hit in the Fifties and measured only 2.4 metres long. However, while that was a three-wheeler, its modern day successor will get four wheels and a reverse gear – the original version famously did without one. There is no fixed timeframe for the new model, but a design study of the eco machine is expected by 2010.