BMW I3

4/5
BMW I3  image
Verdict

The BMW i3 was the first fully electric vehicle developed by BMW that was made available to the public. This is the least-typical looking BMW ever produced for global markets – only the badge gives it away. The non-BMW look of the vehicle didn’t stop people from applauding the company’s efforts. The i3 showed electric vehicle manufacturers that small electric vehicles can still be classy.

Performance

Because the i3 is a fully electric vehicle the driver receives instant torque the second the foot goes on the accelerator. So if this machine was to line out against some of the top road-cars on the market, the i3 would probably give a much faster acceleration speed. In fact, according to the manufacturer, the i3 will bring you from 0-100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds.
The car is powered by an electric motor that produces 170 bhp and a torque of 250Nm. The i3 uses a specially developed lithium ion battery that powers everything in the vehicle.

Ride & Handling

Regardless of range anxieties, the i3 is probably the ultimate city car. Because the vehicle is small it is very easy to drive and manoeuvre in and around towns. The steering is well-weighted and very direct. The ride is especially firm if you are driving on the 20 inch alloys. To soften the journey a bit we would advise going for the 19 inch wheels.

Refinement

This is among the most refined small electric vehicles. Somehow BMW has managed to bring their fine quality to this machine. The car’s motor operates efficiently and silently. Unfortunately the vehicle does suffer from road noise, but this has to be expected from smaller vehicles – especially if they’re made from extremely light carbon fibre materials.

Quality & Reliability

The interior of the i3 is stunning. BMW didn’t cut corners on materials when the opted to create this car, and as small vehicles go it’s a chart topper. This is a long way from a conventional BMW interior. This car doesn’t have all of the soft furnishings that you would find a 3 Series or a 5 Series. The vehicle is flooded with light from the large windscreen. The dash board nearly floats above the floor to give a feeling of space, and the blue strip in the steering wheel is retro-futuristic.

Safety & Security

Unfortunately the i3 only received 4-stars from the Euro NCAP tests, which is disappointing because it would have been nice to see this car succeed better in that too.

Space & Practicality

There are two seats to the rear, but to be honest they are for children only. The boot offers space of 260 litres, which is something that could be improved on.

The battery comes with an 8 year or 160,000km warranty. The BMW i3 should be cheaper to run than a vehicle with a conventional engine. A full charge, which costs approximately €2, should drive you for approximately 150 to 160km (depending on your style of driving). However, there is a version with a range extender petrol supply also available – this is a tiny 2-cylinder engine. The petrol tank is tiny, but it should double the distance you can travel. It’s up to potential owners to decide if an 8 hour charge (from a regular socket) or a 5 hour charge (from a BMW charger in your home) is practical.

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Key Facts

New Price
€46,300
Make

BMW

Model
I3
Variant
BMW i3 BMW i3 94aH
First year of model production
2014
Transmission
Automatic
Gears
1 Speed
Fuel type
Electric
Body Type
MPV

Running Costs

Tax
€120
Tax Band
A0
Emission Standard EU
EU6

Performance

Driven Wheels
Front
Brake Horsepower
170
Top Speed
150 (kmh)
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)
7.3
Cylinders
3
Aspiration
Electric

Space & Practicality

Doors
4
Seats
5
Air Conditioning
Yes
Automatic Parking
Available as optional extra
Bluetooth
Yes
Cruise Control
Yes
Folding Rear Seats
Yes
Front Cup Holders
Yes
Parking Sensors
Available as optional extra
Power Steering
Yes
Reversing Camera
No
Tyre Size Front
155/70 R19
Tyre Size Back
155/70 R19

Warranty

Warranty All Components
2 Year warranty
Warranty Engine, Gearbox and Drivetrain
2 Year warranty
Warranty Car Body
12 Year bodywork warranty
Warranty Paintwork
3 Year paint warranty
Warranty Mileage
No distance limit

Safety

Isofix
Yes
Euro NCAP Star Rating
4
Hill Hold Assist System
Yes

What Experts Say

Auto Express
The BMW i3 makes a great city car - it's relaxing to drive and there's nothing else like it on the road
Top Gear
BMW calls it 'megacity' car. We just call it mega. The i3 is genuinely that good. Join the queue
What Car
Electric motoring doesn't come much more desirable than the BMW i3, with its fantastic interior and futuristic styling.

Security

High Adjustable Seats
No
Rear Cup Holders
No
USB Connectivity
Yes

Dimensions

Tyre size front
155/70 R19 mm
Tyre size back
155/70 R19 mm

Technical Information

Power
170 bhp