Base MSRP: From $44,450 to $51,700
- 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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.