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Users can configure and explore the vehicles, even open the door or switch on the lights.

BMW has commissioned an augmented reality app powered by Google's Tango technology, allowing customers to virtually explore the i3 and i8.

Users can configure the vehicle to their tastes, then walk around the car or open the doors to get 'inside' and check out the interior. The vehicle is presented as a full-size three-dimensional visualization on an Android device.

"The thing that sets Tango apart is the fact that it understands the context of the space that it's in," said Google's head of AR business development, Eric Johnsen. "So the wheels are really on the floor, for example, giving the whole experience a much more realistic feel."

BMW is said to be the first automotive brand to use Tango to provide an interactive customer experience without stepping into a showroom. It is still a pilot project, but the company plans a full rollout via Google Play in the future.

"In our initial tests, we saw people ducking down when they were getting into the car, as if there really were a roof there for them to bang their heads on," said BMW sales VP Andrea Castronovo. "It's that level of detail which means this technology offers the customers real added value."