it’s the car that proves BMW is heading back to the future!
In an unlikely partnership, the German company has teamed up with the UK’s Bath University to design a new range of eco-friendly two, three and four-wheeled city runabouts. With this news comes the suggestion that the Isetta badge could make a comeback after 50 years, providing the main inspiration for the four-wheeled microcar.
Ideal for busy city roads, the tiny BMW would be rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, to provide the perfect balance of power and handling. Due to its tiny dimensions, the Isetta should be easy to park. And inside, it will be packaged in a similar way to the Toyota iQ, and will offer seating for three adults, plus an occasional chair behind the driver.
Sources at BMW have said that, despite its retro heritage, the new Isetta will be very futuristic. From launch, the range of small-capacity petrol and diesel engines should deliver economy in excess of 100mpg and emit less than 90g/km of CO2 – although other power systems are also under consideration. An all-electric version is the preferred option. A spokesman told us: “We are testing the viability of battery power with our MINI e.
“We need to see how people use these cars, as well as establish what kind of performance, range and life we can achieve. Only that way can we ensure it is truly viable.
“We are committed to producing a super-economical or zero-emissions vehicle or range of vehicles. However, it’s going to be at least five years before production models hit the road.”
BMW’s tie-in with Bath University suggests development is gathering pace, and as demand for eco vehicles is so buoyant, the Isetta could appear in showrooms here as early as 2011, with an electric version following close behind.