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Europe: Will plug-in hybrid sport BMWs turn enthusiasts on?

FRANKFURT: BMW’S designers and engineers have long vowed that the company’s eventual battery-powered cars would not be geekmobiles but true BMWs, with all the zip, handling and style that the German automaker is known for. Norbert Reithofer, the chief executive, is fond of saying that an environmentally friendly auto should not be “a vow of poverty on wheels.”

BMW fans can soon decide for themselves whether the company has delivered on its promise. On Friday in Frankfurt, BMW unveiled working prototypes of the i8, a plug-in hybrid sport coupe that will carry a six-figure price tag, and the i3, a four-seat battery-powered compact car aimed at a wider market.


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