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BMW is returning to the Super Bowl after a four-year hiatus with former "Today" show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel driving in a "Newfangled Idea" called the i3.

The spot, scheduled to air during the first quarter of Sunday's big game, juxtaposes a 1994 "Today" show clip showing the confusion of Couric and Gumbel over the question "What is the Internet?" to the pair in 2015 trying to grasp the concept of the BMW i3, an all-electric hatchback from the German automaker.

Trudy Hardy, BMW of North America vice president of marketing, said the company is on the verge of "something great," and he hopes the ad will educate audiences about the BMW i3 and e-mobility in a "fun and engaging way."

"In 1994, people had not yet grasped what the Internet was, which is similar to how electric mobility is viewed today," he said in a statement. "Electric mobility is at a tipping point."

The ad is one of at least six commercials from automotive brands expected during Super Bowl XLIX. It was published on YouTube on Monday, and already had more than 2.3 million views as of 11:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The BMW i3 is the first of the automakers "i" vehicles constructed primarily of carbon fiber. It's currently available in the U.S. starting at $43,350, including a $950 destination fee.

A 30-second spot during this year's New England Patriots-Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl on Sunday is estimated to average $4.4 million-$4.5 million — at least $200,000 more than a year ago, and $2 million more than a decade ago.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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