While the new 8-Series coupe and the X4 hog the limelight, for some the old Isetta bubble car is what BMW is all about. Powered by a single cylinder 250cc engine, it gave mobility to the masses in the 50s, when the world was getting back on its feet after the devastating war. The car’s forward opening door and the egg like shape made it an icon.

The world needs a new Isetta today, to deal with the problems of urban mobility. And as it turns out, the original car’s unique design had solved the future mobility challenges that we are face with today. So it comes as no surprise that the Isetta’s distinctive design has become the inspiration for a new electric car called the Microlino.

Built by a Swiss company, the Microlino is an electric city car which seats two. The car is a featherweight compared to modern cars and tips the scale at 450 kg (992 lbs) and has a range of either 120 kms (74 miles) or 215 kms (133 miles) depending on the battery size buyers opt for.

The Microlino electric bubble car’s performance isn’t bad for a futuristic urban transport. It goes from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 5 seconds and tops out at 90km/h (55 mph). It’s not earth shattering, but it will get the job done in stop-go city traffic.

Microlino’s party piece is the front opening door. With the car being as long as most cars are wide, it lets the passengers get out directly on the side walk. Then there’s the fact that you can charge it out of a regular power socket at home – it takes 4 hours to top up the batteries.

At 12,000 Euros (US $13,600) asking price, the car has received 7,200 orders already. The interiors are minimalist that some might call bare bones and the space is just enough for a driver and passenger.

The Microlino is being built in Italy and it uses a lot of parts already available in the market to keep the costs down. The door handle for example comes from a Fiat 500 while the electric motor is from a fork lift. As long as it’s getting the work done, while looking as cool as it does, we don’t think we can complain.

Now if only the company starts selling it states side