Before writing this, I did not know who Ronnie Fieg was, nor was I aware of his fashion brand Kith. That probably says more about me than it does Fieg or Kith, but as brands search out ways to reach new audiences, BMW and Kith have been doing that ‘collab’ thing.
Their latest work primarily involves a limited edition of the BMW i4 M50 – a sporty-looking, and with a 3.9-second 0-60mph time, sporty-driving variant of BMW’s mid-size electric car. A few unique touches define it as a special edition, but most noticeable is Fieg’s combination of ‘Kith Vitality Green’ paintwork, and a Caramel leather interior.
That isn’t the most interesting part of the collaboration for us though. That’s Fieg’s own car, a 1972 BMW 1602, converted to electric power in homage of the vehicles BMW used to ferry around sportspeople at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
BMW built a small number of what it called the 1602e, based on the popular compact 02 series. This being the early 1970s, it was rudimentary, powered by a dozen, 12V lead-acid batteries which alone tipped the scales at 350kg. Power, at 43bhp, wouldn’t have added much to BMW’s tally of motorsport wins either. Range? 19 miles at 31mph, which sounds more like what you’d expect from an e-bike today.
But it was a cool diversion in BMW’s history – and one it did follow up with several more prototypes over the years – and one Fieg has embraced with his own electric 1602.
Fieg found a 1602 from the correct year for the conversion, working with BMW to restore it from top to bottom. Sadly neither Fieg nor BMW have elaborated on the car’s specifications, but it’s fair to assume both performance and range have taken a step up from the originals, given the technology now on offer.
It shares the i4 M50’s colour scheme of Kith Vitality Green over Caramel Merino leather, and even wears BMW roundels displaying KITH lettering rather than BMW. As designer collaborations go, all remarkably tasteful.
BMW will build only seven examples of the i4 M50 by Kith, and only one will be offered to a global audience, auctioned off by Sotheby’s on October 7; the winning bidder will have the car built to the relevant specification for their country of residence.
The 1602 and i4 M50 are the second such collaboration between BMW and Kith. Back in 2020, the two brands worked on another matching pair of vehicles: Fieg’s E30 M3, and a special M4 named the BMW M4 Competition x Kith – 150 examples of which sold out in 30 minutes.