BMW i3

Base MSRP: From $44,450 to $51,700
Configurations:

  • BMW i3 with Range Extender – From $48,300
  • BMW i3s – From $47,650
  • BMW i3s with Range Extender – From $51,500

Destination Charge: $995
Tax Credit: up to $7,500

EPA Range: 126 miles, pure electric
Battery: 42.2 kWh 353-360 V lithium-ion

Reviews of the BMW i3

Overview

Performance: Electric vehicle (EV); 42-kWh battery, 170 horsepower (upgraded model 184 horsepower)
Mileage estimate: 113 mpge

Price estimate: $44,450 to $51,700

Warranty: 4 years / 50,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 4 years / 50,000 miles
Roadside assistance: 4 years / unlimited miles
Corrosion warranty: 12 years / unlimited miles

2019 BMW i3

Intro

Sales dropped a year ago for the BMW i3, an all-electric vehicle hatchback that is a huge player in the German automaker’s push toward going green.

For 2018, the i3 sales in the U.S. was 6,117, the 12th highest among electric vehicle (EV) cars. However, that could be just a one-year drought because the 2019 BMW i3 arrives with some significant changes, most notably a range increase of just over 30 percent.

The 2019 i3 has a 42-kilowatt (kWh) battery pack with 120 Ah lithium-ion cells that replaces last year’s 33-kwh battery. The increase raises the i3’s range to 153 miles, considerably more than the 114 range a year ago. That pushes the i3 past competitors like the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and Hyundai Ioniq Electric. However, the BMW i3 still ranks well below the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt.

For an additional $3,800, an optional range extender can be purchased. The small 2-cylinder, gas-powered engine has a 2.4-gallon tank and adds roughly 90 miles of range. The i3 is available in four trims (Deka, Mega, Giga, and Tera).

BMW has made a major verbal commitment regarding EVs. By 2025, the German automaker says it will have 12 all-electric and 13 hybrid vehicles. The plan by 2021 is having five all-electric models.

The reason for the BMW focus is twofold. Increasing restrictions on carbon emissions by the European Union (EU) is a prime motivator, along with the fact that EVs and hybrid vehicles are gaining in popularity worldwide.

BMW is experiencing quite a bit of success with its i3 model, a four-door hatchback that was introduced to the U.S. market in 2014. It ranked third in sales among all EVs worldwide from 2014 to 2016, before slipping out of the U.S. top-10 in 2018. The leading EV seller in the BMW lineup is now the 530e, which had sales of 8,664 for 2018, putting it ninth on the EV list.

Exterior Style

For folks who have never seen the BMW i3, the vehicle doesn’t exude the luxury that typifies its German heritage. It’s an upright, small hatchback with a boxy, somewhat quirky appearance. The i3 has odd-shaped windows, skinny 19-inch tires and is short in length (158.3 inches).

Even the doors are a little odd. The front doors need to be open to allow passengers in the back, where the doors swing out in the opposite direction.

The standard rear-wheel drive BMW i3 generates 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The carbon fiber shell helps give the i3 better acceleration and decrease the overall weight, which is similar to a Mazda Miata.

Vehicle Power and Speed

The BMW i3 feels fairly quick and goes 0-60 in 7.4 seconds with a top speed of 93 mph. An upgraded i3 has 184 horsepower and its 0-60 mph is faster (6.8 seconds).

Charging

A 240-volt, Level 2 charger takes roughly 6.5 hours with an empty battery, while a DC fast-charging at 50-kW is about 1½ hours.

Thanks to its small wheelbase and lower center of gravity, the sporty i3 steering is extremely responsive and maneuverable, making it fun to drive. But the skinny tires are not as road-gripping.

The BMW i3’s overall layout is a bit dated because its more simplistic and less technology-laden than some car buyers would like. It comes standard with 10.2-inch touchscreen that sits atop the dash, and one year of Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Interior Space

The front seat provides solid space and comfort, yet the back seat is lacking. Taller passengers won’t want to be on long trips because the leg room is on the small side (just shy of 32 inches). The cargo area measures 15.1 cubic feet of room, about the size of some compact sedans.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about the funky-looking 2019 BMW i3. It delivers great range without a charge, good acceleration and nimble handling. One not-so-appealing quality – it costs more than many of its competitors.

— J.W.

Interested in BMW PHEV options? Check out the BMW 330e, BMW 530e, BMW 740e, BMW X5 xDrive40e, and the unique BMW i8 Coup

For more manufacturer details on this vehicle visit: www.bmwusa.com

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Recommended Power Level of Charging Station for BMW i3 = 32A

Vehicle Acceptance rate: 7.4kW (22 kWh battery)

Vehicle Acceptance rate: 7.4kW

(33 kWh, 353-360 V lithium-ion battery)

2017 BMW i3

BMW has made a major verbal commitment regarding electric vehicles (EV). By 2025, the German automaker says it will achieve mass production, manufacturing 12 fully electric models.

The reason for the BMW focus is twofold. Increasing restrictions on carbon emissions by the European Union (EU) is a prime motivator, along with the fact that EVs and hybrid vehicles are gaining in popularity worldwide.

BMW is experiencing quite a bit of success with its i3 model, a four-door hatchback that was introduced to the U.S. market in 2014. It ranked third in sales among all EVs worldwide from 2014 to 2016. It certainly won’t hurt sales that the 2017 BWM i3 has a larger battery in two of its models that’s increased the range by 33 miles.

The i3 Base model is equipped with a 33-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery and delivers an estimated 114 miles before a charge is needed. It has a 170-horsepower electric motor that generates 184 pound-feet of torque. The Base model is one of three i3 trims, sandwiched between the 60 Ah (amp-hour) and the Range Extender. The 60 Ah has a smaller 22 kWh battery that provides an 81-mile range.

The Range Extender is an interesting configuration, featuring the new battery and a small two-cylinder engine that can add to the BMW i3’s range. The Range Extender is 265 pounds heavier and that lowers the electric range to 97 miles. However, the 2.4 gas tank adds an estimated 83 miles, giving the Range Extender a 180-mile total range. The engine also generates electricity once the battery runs low.

The gas engine certainly comes in handy when the electric range is close to maxing out and a charging station is not in close proximity. Note that the enlarged engine costs an additional $4,000 and disqualifies the i3 as a zero-emissions vehicle.

The 2017 BMW i3 has a 7.4-killowatt onboard charger. Reportedly, when charged at a 240-volt, Level 2 station, the larger battery takes roughly 4½ hours and the smaller one 3½ hours.

For folks who have never seen the BMW i3, the vehicle doesn’t exude the luxury that typifies its German heritage. It’s an upright, small hatchback with a somewhat futuristic appearance. The i3 has odd-shaped windows, skinny tires and is shorter than a Honda Fit at 157.4 inches in length. Even the doors are a little odd – the rear ones open outward, which some people feel makes it easier to enter and exit. One needs a high step to enter the i3.

The i3 has a body shell made of carbon fiber, making it stronger than steel yet lighter than aluminum. It may be small in size and weight (just under 3,000 pounds), but that’s what helps make the i3 pretty zippy. It’s been clocked going 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds – the heavier Range Extender covers the same distance in 7.1 seconds.

The performance is satisfying and so is the handling. Because the BMW i3 receives its power from the rear wheels, the handling is better than the majority of its front-wheel drive competitors. Thanks to its small wheelbase and lower center of gravity, the sporty i3 steering is extremely responsive and maneuverable, making it fun to drive.

As noted, the BMW i3 is small, yet provides surprising interior room to all four passengers. The leather front seats offer nice comfort, and there’s even more room for back seat occupants. The interior has a high-tech quality, and is very user-friendly and functional. It takes a little getting used to, but behind the steering wheel is a small screen that displays speed and a separate one that’s larger and offers navigation and the rear-view camera image.

There’s a lot to like about the funky-looking 2017 BMW i3. It delivers great range without a charge, good acceleration, nimble handling, and cool technology features. One not-so-appealing quality – it costs more than its competitors.

— J.W.

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