BMW Reveals Never Seen Before Three-Wheeler "Simple Concept" [with Video]

Call it a coincidence, call it whatever you want, but this is the second time in a week that an automaker presents a concept that blurs the lines between motorcycles and automobiles. Following Nissan's announcement on the Land Glider prototype that will make its premiere at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show later this month, BMW surprised us today with the presentation of a never-before seen, three-wheeler concept that will find a place alongside other special exhibits at the Bavarian automaker's Museum.

The concept vehicle that was created in 2005 is called SIMPLE, an acronym of the project name "A Sustainable and Innovative Mobility Product for Low Energy consumption" - obviously "ASIMPLEC" didn't sound snappy enough...

BMW says that the SIMPLE, which measures just 1,100mm (43.3-in.) in width, combines features and advantages from both automobiles and motorcycles.

The lightweight concept that weighs in at just 450kg or 992 lbs, encloses the two passengers that are seated in a tandem layout in a car-like cell, which provides increased safety as well as protection and from wind and weather, but at the same time, it handles like a motorcycle allowing the driver to lean into corners as desired.

Like Nissan's four-wheeler Land Glider, the tilting of the passenger cell is done completely automatic, meaning that all the driver has to do is to change direction for the appropriate tilt to follow.

The Bavarian automaker said that a special feature of the SIMPLE is that it activates the hydraulics only in exceptional situations, for example if the vehicle threatens to become unstable during extremely slow driving, when righting the vehicle during standstill or in extreme situations such as drifting - now that's something we'd like to see...

The SIMPLE uses an internal combustion with an output of 48HP and an electric motor - BMW did not release any other details on the drivetrain. The maker says acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) is estimated at under ten seconds while the concept model's drag coefficient of 0.18 allows it to achieve a top speed in excess of 200km/h or 124mph.

According to BMW, using the electric motor and the combustion engine, the SIMPLE consumes just 6 kWh (equivalent to 0.7 liters of petrol) of energy or about two liters of fuel for every 100 km which is the U.S. equivalent of 117.6 mpg.