The i3 remains the best premium small EV out there. Just be prepared to pay proper money.
What is that?
BMW’s 2018 redesign of the BMW small EV ‘i’ doesn’t spoil the recipe too much, and after only four years of sale, there’s not much to do – the i3 runs always looking forward and trendy even in middle age.
But the new one manages to look a little better. And that’s really just a tweak: a new silver roof strip, various adjustments to the front and rear bumper, and some other little wrinkles. The drive source remains the same, a single-gear synchronous electric motor drawn from a high-voltage, 94Ah (33 kWh) lithium-ion battery. That means 170 horsepower and a maximum torque of 184 lb-ft, 0-62 mph at 7.3 and a top speed of 93 mph. The official NEDC Lab range is 186 miles, lower in the real world and if you penalize a performance, but enough.
If you wanted more testing – but a bit less battery life – you now have the i3S option, which is the i3 Sports. You get a 14 hp / 15 lb. power boost over the standard car’s output, a black roof specimen, different bumpers again, a 10mm lower sport suspension, a 40mm wider track, 20 ” wheels 20mm wide and black arches – they look pretty good. It even takes advantage of the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) system that “improves agility and allows for controlled drift.” And yes, that is what the press says. About i3.
What is it like on the road?
As with any electric vehicle, exploring the city or taking short hops between cities is usually a fun in the i3. Quiet, capable, surprisingly urgent, with good handling even on rather large wheels. No, it won’t win any awards in dealing, but that’s really not the point. What’s even more fun is feeling as though you have a small part of the near future and enjoying how relaxed you can navigate. It also has a good radius and is remarkably easy to park – so you can thank the hood and trunk: it’s easy to see and put on. Regenerative braking – as the i3’s engine collects power during braking cycles – gets a little used to it (it feels like heavy engine braking when releasing the throttle, depending on how hard you brake. Initialize it), but once you get used to it, you can actually drive with just one pedal.
If you want something with a little bit of spice, the i3S is also an option. It shuts the lights well, and doesn’t tell this 0 to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds the 0 to 30 mph story it overtakes. You can jump ahead and engage in traffic quickly and safely, and while the urge to speed cleverly fades away after around 50 miles an hour, everything is fine with EV delivery: immediate, urgent, quiet. And it really looks a lot faster than the standard i3. In fact, the traffic is a bit surprising: 14 hp has never made such a difference. And yes, it handles cleaner, feels more secure, and can go without an excited vertigo without feeling like it’s going to flip. No, it doesn’t “drift,” but it pulls its nose inward by pushing it back a little, and that’s enough.
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
The i3’s interior is probably one of the best things about it. Suitable for four-person seats, easily accessible via suicide rear doors and interesting shapes, textures, materials and technologies. It really plays with your early fantasies, while still being usable and logical. It’s well ventilated, and being able to see grains on “recycled” carbon structures is a good talking point. It’s fun without being silly or outspoken, and it’s more practical than most in this part. You also get a large portion of the standard equipment that matches the huge price list: LED headlights, BMW Professional Multimedia, heated front seats, BMW ConnectedDrive (BMW emergency call, BMW navigation system, BMW online services, BMW phone services and information. Real-time traffic). As always with BMW, if you want to pay for the extras you can. I recommend the additional cabin heating system, the Park Assist Package, the i3 Plus package (19 ” BMW i light-alloy turbo wheels, sun visor, Live Entertainment, Harman / Kardon speaker system) and the Park Assist Package (Reverse Assist Camera, Control In Park Distance (PDC, Park Aid). You’re likely to live without Driving Assistant Plus (Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, City Collision Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning, Protective Pedestrian Protection, Speed Limit Display, Traffic Congestion Assist). But if you’ve already paid …
Running costs and reliability
As standard, you get DC Rapid Charge ready and multi-stage AC fast charging capability, but BMW’s latest “i Wallbox” – it’s a home charging station – allows for fast charging. At home, power up to 11 kW. This gives you a battery that charges to about 112 miles of range in under three hours – five times faster than a standard charging cable. It can also be configured to allow smart charging – so it only recharges when electricity is cheap. Or, in fact, home solar. When it comes to tax breaks, the i3 qualifies for everything from government purchase subsidies to £ 0 road tax and the ability to squeeze through whatever city-dependent supplement you want. Male. The leftovers are clean and you can still be part of the BMW i program where you can borrow a larger vehicle from time to time as needed. BMW managed to sell over 8000 i3s, which is quite justified, even considering the relatively high price tag.
Final thoughts and pick of the range
The i3 remains the ultimate in small electric vehicle. It’s hard to argue. Just be prepared to pay the money.