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Words by Mr Tom M Ford | Photography by Mr Guy Stephens

18 February 2016

In an exclusive collaboration, we teamed up with BMW to produce our own limited-edition i3 car.

Clothes are undoubtedly our main area of expertise at MR PORTER, but we’re always looking to broaden our horizons. To help celebrate our fifth anniversary, we thought we’d shift things up a gear (sorry) and combine some of our sartorial know-how with the automotive prowess of German car giant BMW. The result? Our very own limited-edition bespoke car.

If you’ve ever wondered what the automotive interpretation of a dinner jacket would look like (we know we have), pause and be sated. The BMW i3 MR PORTER Edition encapsulates just that. Taking a few style cues from one of the most enduring icons in menswear – the tuxedo – we finished the car in a deep, midnight-blue and, like a tailored suit, added some bespoke details. Note the hand-drawn “pinstripe” on the side of the chassis, and the MR PORTER signature to the rear of the car. We also added a white door rail, a tribute to the crisp collar and cuffs of a dress shirt, and gave the same treatment to the trim around the grill. While inside the car, you will find sustainable olive-leaf leather and dark oak.

Happily, there is substance to all this style. The MR PORTER BMW i3 offers an award-winning driving experience you get with other models in this range. But don’t take our word for it; heed Mr Benoit Jacob – head of design at BMW i since 2010: “To ensure that style matches performance, the BMW i cars provide the same driving pleasure BMW is famous for… sporting driving characteristics [such as] breathtaking acceleration and excellent agility.”

Running on a 130kW electric motor, the car’s battery can be charged from a conventional socket with ease overnight or in 30 minutes from a dedicated rapid charger. And, emission-free, it is near silent in motion.

With his work for BMW, Mr Jacob has always sought to combine sustainability with innovative design – so the look and feel of our car is not compromised. “Being environmentally conscious on the one hand and creating cars that look and feel exciting on the other is not a contradiction in terms,” he says. “Quite the opposite: the BMW i cars bring a new meaning to the word premium – defined by sustainability.”

Managing Director of MR PORTER Mr Toby Bateman – who worked closely with Mr Jacobs to ensure the car had our DNA woven into it – agrees: “We have kept all the high-specification components one would expect from BMW and added a tailor-made interior and exterior finish, which is very much in keeping with our aesthetic,” he says.

It was no coincidence that MR PORTER decided to work with BMW on this project. Before we got to know the team, we felt we had a lot in common. And once we got to work, things slotted into place quite nicely. “It just felt like a very natural step to partner these two strong brands and to be the first to market with this unique project,” says Mr Jacob. “MR PORTER and BMW i not only share the same passion for inspiring designs; we were also impressed by MR PORTER’s creative approach to fashion and their constant strive to explore new offerings that complement the modern gentlemen’s lifestyle.”

We are well aware that an electric automobile may not appeal to some. We are as addicted to the allure of classic petrol cars and supercars as anyone. But for negotiating city streets in style, there is little that comes close to this model’s efficiency and handsome, aerodynamic design. And cars like this are certainly the future. “We are definitely entering a new era of urban mobility,” says Mr Jacob. “Increasing public concern over car emissions, combined with advances in technologies for batteries and alternative fuels, has triggered a rapid growth in the market for low-emission vehicles.”

Who does he imagine would drive the BMW i3 MR PORTER Edition? “Anyone who has a soft spot for exclusive high-end designs and the latest technologies,” says Mr Jacob. “It is a car for anyone who loves the extraordinary.”

The Travel Kit

To complete the experience, in the boot you’ll find a bespoke MR PORTER Essentials Travel Kit, comprising a BMW leather holdall and five special anniversary items exclusive to MR PORTER: a black and white London Undercover umbrella, a special-edition Leica camera, Cutler And Gross sunglasses, a Lock & Co Hatters bowler hat and a bespoke-edition set of Wallpaper* City Guides. The perfect car, in our opinion, for the understated urban gentleman.

Film by Bugsy