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New BMW cars shine at PGA tourney words & pictures by Mike Torch    

Lake forest, IL- A BMW-sponsored PGA tournament proved to be a brilliant showcase for the German luxury car maker to introduce three new models to the general-- albeit well-heeled --public, just north of Chicago.

Thousands of well-to-do professional golf fans merged to the Conway Farms perfectly manicured course to see their favourite players go at it on a nearly cloud-free but cool September day.

With BMW being the sponsor-host, they were also treated to a glimpse at some of the new vehicles the Bavarian automaker had on display.

After a long gestation period since its initial debut as a concept car three years ago at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the new plug-in i3 is finally here.

The production car features an electric-only range of about 100 miles in the standard driving setting, but BMW says that figure can be stretched-out to 112 miles in economy mode, and 124 miles in double-economy mode.

This is BMW's first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain.

With this EV, BMW is the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to improve the vehicle's energy consumption.

The new BMW i3 is offered with a range extender ("REx") option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a 2.4 US gallon fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 150 to 190 miles, thus putting the vehicle in the category of a series hybrid.

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