BMW i3 (2013 onwards) MSN Cars UK

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BMW i3 Electric Cars

BMW i3 (2013 onwards)

BMW i3: summary

BMW arrives and redefines what’s from a mainstream electronic (EV) – the i3 is brilliant.

What: BMW i3


Date: October

Price: £30,680 ($49,729)

16 November 2013

BMW i3: first

At last! The BMW i3 is the firm’s first production car and the culmination of six years’ In which time, a new brand has created, a new design language a new in-house motor and gearbox a new production method invented – oh, and 20 miles covered by two EV test car BMW has not taken this step the unknown lightly…

The i3 itself this ground-up clean It looks like no other Like no other car on the road. It is quite narrow, just metres long, but although it has a silhouette, the styling is unique.

It high-tech, precision-built, rich, a clear influence from the sector. You may not love it at first but it grow on you as the detail within the surfacing emerges. At the end of two days’ exposure, we liked it.

Others they’ll need more

BMW has not taken this step the electric unknown lightly…

BMW it to us as a pure electric vehicle, a 170hp electric motor in the and a battery pack located the passenger compartment. It’s space efficient for such a car, flexibility unchanged in a sister car – a range extender with a tiny two-cylinder engine that keeps the charged (and the i3 running) they go flat. Both go on sale in November, meaning BMW has an answer to the question of range


It’s the regular EV has to be right, though. Particularly at rage extender is £33,830). BMW 320d money. The i3 wears a BMW and is billed as ‘the next but it will only be a success if its measure up to the hype.

But then, when BMW invests so much money and engineering might a project, it doesn’t get it wrong? Or are we in for a

BMW i3: performance

The BMW i3 is the first electric car to performance that’s genuinely, different. A large part of is because there’s so much of it. If you get one with thoughts of lethargic the G-forces it generates when the is pressed will stun We don’t use that term this is an EV that accelerates 0-62mph in one seamless, intense, 7.2-second burst.

That’s than a MINI Cooper. almost hot-hatch fast. amazing.

The performance is like being pulled along by one magnetic force field

The way the is delivered is also like no or diesel. It’s instantaneous; the gearbox doesn’t need to and the motor doesn’t need to get into its power band or up its turbos. At any time you want, you can on the throttle and it will surge immediately.

Go on, try to catch it out; you won’t.

electric power is much precise and easy to modulate than combustion engine it makes the drive seem accurate. This makes the i3 a satisfying car to drive quickly; not just very quick but sensitive and sharp with it. an entirely new type of power that finally delivers the promise of electric drive.

else that’s completely is found when you lift off the the i3 decelerates, purposefully. This is braking stronger than in any EV on sale and it turns the i3 into a pedal car’. Most of the speeding up and slowing down is a of modulating the right pedal – even bring you smoothly to a standstill without touching the (creating lots of battery-charging in the process).

It takes time to but is very effective once you do.

Of there’s no engine noise. The is enhanced over other EVs because BMW has both put great into minimising the whine of the and also mounted it in the rear, out of There’s no vibration either: all very space age.

is thus like you’re pulled along by one intense force field. This is EVs have promised; finally BMW on it.


BMW i3: ride and handling

Electric cars don’t right? Well, BMWs do. And, so does the electric i3. all good BMWs, it is rear-wheel and, like a Porsche it is also rear-engined.

This it superb traction and thus the chance of handling the car’s torque.

It gives corruption-free and a neutral balance in corners cars drive the rear for a reason). With a very low of gravity, centralised mass and weight distribution, the i3 is about as a modern car as you can get. On the road, it it.

It’s immediately confident, and encouraging, giving plenty of and not feeling anything like the pitching skateboard its dimensions

Like all good BMWs, it is drive, and handles twisting with surprising speed

The has nice firm weighting and of the flimsy steer-by-wire feel  other electric cars Inputs at speed can give a nervy reaction, though: BMW has a, direct-drive steering system helps with in-town and immediacy. Use the more measured of a sports car and the i3 becomes crisp feeling over-sharp.

It handles roads at surprising speed the narrow 155-section front and has bags of stable confidence at too.

Some may view the big wheels with narrow given how some other have ridden. Fear The i3 rides well, with controlled absorbency and, no harshness. It will jitter bitty surfaces, of course, but when it becomes stiff, it crash and bang. Most of the a surprisingly supple and well-judged gives a fluid feel enhanced by the big wheels’ ability to potholes well.

BMW i3 Electric Cars

The fact it isn’t soft and gives good riding too.

BMW i3: interior

It’s a on wheels, accordingn to BMW. By it means something high-rise and but it also means something to a designer pad in fashionable Soho. The i3 on both. Space first: the proviso it’s a four-seater, not all adult-sized occupants will be comfortably. Twin rear-hinged allow access to the rear and the doesn’t need to slide seat forward in order to space.

You don’t even to tip the front seats forward to get in the although you do need to open the doors before you can release the os.

BMW has worked uncommonly hard to the 100-mile range fully

Like all good lofts, the i3 has of spaces and cubbies for stuff; all good loft-style apartments, packed with high-end The star attraction is the dashboard, and simple in design, with a piece of real wood the base and a massive flatscreen It’s brilliant, smart-looking and with functionality.

Sculptural are another draw, and a top-quality feel runs throughout.

The is low, windscreen deep, windows tall; with the roof and open-plan, flat-floor layout, it feels very and airy. A posh studio then; one that enjoys low levels too. The key noise is eliminated and everything else has duly refined so they take its place.

It’s only wind from the door mirrors at that BMW hasn’t been to quell.

There’s a decent and fold-flat seats expand it to litres. Practical for families? although kids won’t the fact you can’t open the windows.

The layout isn’t as practical as a family hatchback – you’ll have to get out and release the doors if you want to drop off the at school. Safety first, BMW…


BMW i3: economy and safety

So, the key how far can it go on a fully charged battery? A miles. What? Isn’t what most EVs already do – and the Nissan LEAF recently boosted to more than Yes, on all that.

But BMW says the total was intentional. Studies people barely do half each day before an overnight opportunity; why add more unnecessary and expense?

The argument will run and so let’s accept the 100-mile here – because BMW has worked hard to make sure a fully useable range. The indicator updates in real The sat-nav is fully connected and you where you can go on your remaining and where the local EV charging are (even, whether they’re or not) if it’s not enough.

BMW has given us the first genuinely mainstream electric car

There are Eco Pro and Eco modes, too, juggling the air con (or it off) to give you extra You’d never run your this low but the i3’s systems you the confidence to go below 10% charge anxiety, and without any loss of

One more word on the range: if not enough, the answer’s simple. Buy the extender i3.

The i3 hasn’t yet been by EuroNCAP but a superb result is made from carbonfibre, the ‘life cell’ is very indeed, and there’s no weighty up front to harm pedestrians, BMW says it has had to redesign its stability system, mind, to be faster-reacting – the motor’s response is too quick for systems. It’s thus one of the intuitive systems of its type, in and out so fast, you barely notice it.

BMW i3: the MSN verdict

BMW i3 Electric Cars
BMW i3 Electric Cars

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