April Fools pranks have long been the preserve of the motor industry, with previous crackers including a MINI specifically for hipsters, a Hyundai i10 ‘Popemobile’ and a four-door Mazda MX-5.
Sometimes, these pranks are obvious, but sometimes they are not. One that certainly had us looking twice was BMW’s effort for 2019, which appeared on its Facebook page. It announced a comeback for its iconic post-War Isetta bubble car, only now in electric form and brilliantly called the i-Setta.
The arms bells, if they weren’t ringing already, came towards the end of a wall of jargon-filled text, which read: “Ever wondered, if someone really reads all the text…”
BMW began running spoof April Fool’s Day adverts in the early 1980s, giving it one of the longest traditions of April Foolery from any manufacturer. One of the first was the rain-deflecting open top E21 of 1983, which featured jets of air that blasted the water away from the top of the car even when stationary. Other gems included the dashboard-mounted type pressure control from 1985, which allowed you to inflate or deflate your tyres while moving, and 1988’s wiper system for the BMW badge. Others include the self-cleaning car of 2004, magnetic tow technology from 2009 and 2011’s M3 pick-up.
Although quite clearly another prank, we can’t help but be a little disappointed the i-Setta isn’t true. As a cool emission-zone beating city car, it would certainly be a lot more entertaining than an i3, for example, though crumple zones might be an issue. Perhaps funnier than the joke itself was the most-liked comment on BMW’s Facebook post, which stated: “Easy to spot the prank, it doesn’t have the huge grille!”