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BMW i3

BMW i3 (Germany, 2011-present)

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Review


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Review

It is a compact 3.99m-long car with short overhangs and large expanses of glass. The front features U-shaped LED running lights and a modified, smaller interpretation of BMW’s historic kidney grill. From the side, the car has a traditional front door but a deep scoop out of the rear door for extra visibility. At the rear, the i3 has U-shaped taillights that follow the design of the running lights that are set into a gloss black rear hatch. It gives the appearance that the taillights are floating on the rear of the car.  

The i3 produces 168hp and 184lb-ft of torque from its rear-mounted electric motor with power going to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. A lithium-ion battery sandwiched into the floor supplies power. The i3 has a certified range of 130km-160km (81-99 miles). It will get the car to 100km/h in 7.2 seconds. The range and speed are partially helped by the i3’s relatively low 1,195kg weight (2,635lb).

The ECO PRO and ECO PRO+ driving modes add at a further 20km (12 miles) and 40km (24 miles) to the range respectively when selected, according to BMW.

For buyers looking for an even longer range, they can spec a 650cc two-cylinder gasoline range extender that works as a generator for the battery pack. It roughly doubles range to 300km (180 miles).

The CFRP construction allows BMW to remove the B-pillars from the design to create an open, airy interior. The door hinges are built into the front and rear to give the i3 novel suicide doors and makes the windows appear as an continuous pane from the side.

The instrument cluster and iDrive infotainment screen each have their own LED screen. They come standard as 6.5in but can be optionally enlarged to 8.8in. There is only one pedal for drivers to operate. As soon as they take their foot off the pedal, the system begins regenerative braking.

The i3 is also hoping to push the limits in terms of connectivity. Its ConnectedDrive system calculates the most efficient route to get to a destination, not necessarily the fastest. It also tells drivers how much range will remain when they reach their destination. If the destination is too far away in one mode, it tells the driver to switch to a different driving mode to get there.

The i3 is offered in four trim levels – Atelier, Loft, Lodge and Suite. The basic Atelier trim offers seats made from recycled materials and a leather steering wheel. The Lodge trim adds eucalyptus wood trim, wool fabric and some leather. Suite includes full leather for the seats, center console and armrests with eucalyptus trim on the doors.



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