Why the BMW i3 is the best electric car on the planet News TechRadar

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The waiting is We’ve experienced the future of Actually, according to BMW the new i3 is more that. It’s the future of mobility.

All new, all-electric, and an lot of carbon-fibre, the i3 is probably the best car yet. But that may yet not be enough. In the UK year, electric cars just one per cent of the market.

about that.

The basics

we dig down into the tech, cover some basics. The i3 at £25,380 when your in the government’s £5,000 grant for vehicles. So a fair bit more than the likes of Renault’s Zoe (though that doesn’t buy you a you lease it on top) or the £20,990 need to buy a Nissan Leaf with battery.

Open The BMW i3 isn’t like other

On the other hand, £25,000-odd is a bit less than we were and when you take into all the technology, including the radical fibre construction, suddenly it seems cheap.

Anyway, you get is a car that somewhat defies what with its semi (the two rear doors are suicide doors) open-plan It’s hard to know class of car it feels like Is it VW Polo / For Fiesta sized?

Or Golf / Focus sized?

the standard electric model is just under 120 miles on the official NEDC test. BMW is honest and says the maximum range for most owners be 100 miles. There’s also a extended model with a 647cc petrol generator, the one we most our time in as it happens, ups the real-world range to 186 miles.

Are you for a BMW that looks like

So, that’s a sort-of four hatch in pure electric or formats that’s good for 100 to miles depending on configuration.


So far, so not hugely revolutionary. on the tech. Inside, it’s obvious you’re in something a bit That starts with the suicide doors and open-plan

Open all the doors and you can look through the whole car. no transmission tunnel, of course, so the is flat, again contributing to a of airiness.

Next up is iDrive with the own version of BMW ConnectedDrive. BMW is pitching the i3 as with connectivity as standard. all i3s get Bluetooth, DAB radio, iDrive cruise control, BMW Business BMW Online, BMW Apps and Advanced as standard.

The BMW i3 gets dual LCD and no conventional instruments

You get all the usual including super screen well-executed smartphone integration and a hill of clever connected and features. That means like streaming music the internet and support for sending destinations direct from phone or laptop to your Or unlocking it with a smartphone

To that BMW has added what you call a more complete set of mobility functionality. That with fairly obvious like building in operating and charging stations into the system. It’ll show you range for both standard and the Eco Pro mode that reduces performance and climate control to squeeze out a few more miles.

The BMW app also gives you full to charging functionality, allowing you to check on charging status and it.

Then there’s so-called mile navigation, which navigation to your smartphone and you to your destination on foot. BMW is full integration with transport, but it’s not a feature yet experienced.

This kind of total fusing car with public and walking is very popular a PR perspective. It’s very too, to be a car company and publicly public transport. Exactly how it will work, is yet to be seen.

range is built into the BMW nav system

On a related note, of BMW’s mobility solution for i3 is a sort of subsidised rental of combustion-powered BMWs that i3 can access. Basically, you’ll pay for which in turn can be redeemed for a of a conventional BMW.

The idea is for those few days per year you need a long-range vehicle, have one. What if everyone wants one over for instance, remains to be seen.


But what’s the i3 like to drive? nice is the answer, but possibly not or different enough. Thanks to carbon-fibre construction, BMW has kept the down very effectively

The BMW Remote app is integral to the i3 experience

The electric i3 is just 1,195kg, the version 1,325kg. The electric is good for 170hp, so that nippy acceleration to 62mph of 7.2 and 7.9 seconds respectively. Top speed is to 93mph.

The i3 is at its best around It’s quick, it’s responsive and it’s super Even the best combustion make noises, shift and take critical moments to to throttle inputs.

But the i3 is electric and so it’s instant to respond, almost no noise doing so and keeps on responding. There are no shifts to worry about.

Out of it’s a slightly different At speed, wind and tyre contribute plenty of noise in any so the i3 doesn’t feel quite as

A full charge good for 100 will cost you just

Nor does it feel quite as as you might hope. It’s drive, but doesn’t feel it of the time. In the end, it’s not a exciting car to drive.

More a polished, calming mode of For most, that’s probably as is should be.

BMW i3: First verdict

What to of the i3 overall? As a technological achievement, second to none. Whether it actually sell is another

It’s interesting that BMW to great lengths to reduce but did not use that advantage to fit a bigger and thus achieve longer than the competition.

Research that the 100-odd mile is more than enough for the majority of people who might buy an car the vast majority of the time. But we a longer range would help acceptance of what is an technology.

iDrive Touch is on all BMW i3’s

Then again, the cost argument will win BMW reckons you can fully charge an i3 for than £2. Try driving a or diesel car 100 miles for £2.

wise, the i3 is also a huge for BMW. That’s a good in the sense that it underlines buying something new and technologically But, again, car buyers are a bunch.

Ultimately, we think the i3 be a lovely car to live with. It futuristic but upscale inside (if you enough of the options boxes, at it drives very nicely, cost you virtually nothing in or fuel and nothing has better tech.

Whether that’s enough to win electric car sceptics, time tell. BMW could sell or four times more i3s any other electric car on the market and it still be selling in tiny

In other words, BMW needs an of magnitude more success the i3 than any other electric car has in the UK to make an impact. That’s a big But the i3 might just be the EV to take cars into the mainstream.

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