2014 BMW i3 Review Full UK Buying Guide carwow co uk

19 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2014 BMW i3 Review Full UK Buying Guide carwow co uk отключены
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

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Futuristic feel

Fun to drive

Surprising performance

Divisive styling


Usual range-related concerns

The new breed of electric vehicles can be considered a mixed-bag for reviews and ultimately only certain drivers will be able to put up with their range and charging limitations.

If you’re to pick just one of the modern breed though, the BMW i3 is a pretty good choice — reviews are very positive indeed and many see the car as a turning point in the fortunes of electric cars. Not least because it’s one of the first EVs that could be considered truly desirable — and it’s all down to that BMW badge on the nose.


The i3 has the kind of interior you’d expect from its quirky modern exterior. Gone is a vast slab of dashboard or traditional centre console. In its place is an airy, open, loft-style space with clever use of modern and sustainable materials, minimalist design and vivid touchscreens.

One tester describes it as lovely. extremely modern and calm, and high quality. It’s a sentiment echoed in most other reviews. Criticisms are few and far between — some say the seats, while comfy, lack a little support given the surprising cornering abilities of the car; one or two others remarked on slightly iffy build quality in early prototypes — though production cars shouldn’t have these issues.

It’s certainly an interior in which to sooth away the city stress.


It’s rear-wheel drive! Hurrah! Unusual though the i3 is, power to the rear wheels is one area in which BMW’s tradition has remained.

The rest is resolutely different — the electric motor itself is also mounted in the rear, while batteries sit under the floor of the cabin.

Read-drive doesn’t mean big smokey slides though — it’s more a packaging thing. Most reviews are positive on the i3’s handling even so, praising its tight turning circle (almost as good as a London taxi), precise steering and nimble, lightweight feel.

Outright grip is less good — there’s nothing but understeer when the tyres reach their modest limits says one reviewer — while ride quality is quite firm and tends to become frigid on anything but smooth road surfaces. It does subtract a few points from the i3’s city abilities.


The only engine you’ll find here is in the range-extended car — a small twin-cylinder petrol unit running at constant rpm to keep the batteries topped up.

Other than that, it’s all electric power. Quite a bit of it too — 168 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque, delivered virtually from rest. Acceleration verges onto hot hatchback territory, with a 7.2-second 0-60 sprint (7.9 for the heavier range-extender) and excellent traction.

BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

Top speed is limited to 93 mph to preserve range — 80-100 miles is a realistic estimate.

Thanks to strong regenerative braking — feeding power back into the battery when you lift off the accelerator — you can virtually drive the i3 with one pedal. When you do, it’s as smooth as cars come — near-silent (even the range-extender is muted), smooth and relaxing.

Value for money

There’s no doubt that a £30,680 base price tag is quite a lot of dosh. Luckily, you can subtract £5,000 from any i3 thanks to the government’s plug-in car grant. It’s still more than a Nissan Leaf. but the Leaf is slower, nowhere near as cool and not as fun to drive either.

Range-extended cars start at £33,830, pre-grant. Combined economy is an essentially arbitrary 470 mpg, but in reality it’s two costs you need to consider — your electricity cost, and the 40-50 mpg or so you’ll get when the engine is on. The former will cost very little.

Car tax, congestion charge and BIK are currently all free.

Worth noting

BMW expects around 80 percent of buyers to go for the range-extended car, but most of the critics say it probably isn’t worth it — most electric car buyers quickly realise how little their daily journey cuts into range and adapt accordingly.

BMW will also offer a convenience package that lets you hire a regular car from them if you ever need to make a longer journey — further reducing the need for the petrol-assisted version.


The styling is an acquired taste, the price could be considered steep and the range may still put some people off — but overall, the i3 is a very compelling car.

It genuinely feels like a car from the future and it has plenty of other talents too. If you’ve got the budget and think it’d meet your needs, it’s an easy car to recommend.

BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

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