Standard EquipmentTechnical SpecificationOptional ExtrasIndependent Review

Driver Convenience

  • 5.7" colour TFT Instrument cluster display - speedometer and readout, power and range information
  • Additional SPORT driving mode with sporty throttle response
  • Bluetooth hands free telephone facility with USB audio interface and audio streaming
  • BMW apps interface
  • BMW ConnectedDrive - Assist
  • BMW emergency call
  • BMW live tiles with charging, dynamic range map, integrated handbook, iDrive Touch Control with buttons, TMC information used to dynamic route plans
  • BMW Online services
  • BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation system - 10.25" LCD screen with BMW i design, dynamic route planning and 8 buttons
  • BMW remote services
  • BMW teleservices
  • Connected eDrive Services
  • ECO PRO mode to improve range
  • ECO PRO+ mode to maximise the potential range (top speed 56mph) significant gains in range through a series of onboard electronic measures
  • Electronic display of drivetrain information and battery range and temperature
  • Lights on warning by audio warning signal when ignition is switched off
  • On board computer - average speed+fuel consumption, service interval, clock/date, odometer/trip meter, outside temperature display and ice warning
  • Personal profile with automatic lock when driving away selectable, preferences and favourites to a personal profile within the vehicle
  • Real time traffic information
  • Servotronic variable electric power steering (EPS)

Exterior Features

  • Front and rear Brake pad wear indicator
  • A pillar and roof moulding in high gloss black with no matt chrome optic highlight
  • Black finished door sills
  • Black window surrounds
  • BMW i3s badge on rear tailgate
  • Body colour front and rear bumpers, doors and door handles
  • Contrast highlights in BMW i Blue - Kidney grille surrounds below doors
  • Direction indicator side lights in exterior mirrors
  • Dynamic brake lights
  • eDrive rear designation
  • Electrically adjustable high gloss black exterior mirror with aspheric on drivers side, convex on passenger side mirrors
  • Electrically folding, anti dazzle, heated memory, auto parking function, heated washer jets, electrochromatic, aspheric on passenger exterior mirrors
  • Flap in rear side panel, right with push function to open with C shaped indication band for battery condition integrated into central locking system
  • Front and rear bumpers with replaceable deformation elements
  • Front bumper with i3s specific black inlay and accent highlights
  • Front electric windows with open and close fingertip control, anti trap facility and comfort closing
  • Front floor mat with i3s model designation in the centre
  • Green tinted heat protection glazing
  • High gloss black bonnet, door mirrors, roof, roof mouldings with matt chrome optic highlight, tailgate with chrome optic trim
  • High gloss black wheel arch extensions
  • High level third brake light integrated into rear spoiler with front LED bumper, LED side mirror caps, LED rear integrated cluster behind tailgate
  • i3S rear bumper design with wider body colour inlay
  • Integrated tailgate rear window with tempered safety glass, heated rear window
  • Kidney grille high gloss black with contrast chrome edging
  • LED direction indicator lights on front bumper
  • LED rear lights integrated into tailgate
  • Lightweight engineering with carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) body structure
  • Model designation
  • Rain sensor with automatic windscreen wiper and headlight activation
  • Rear fog lights in bumper
  • Rear spoiler
  • Rear view mirror with automatic dipping of passenger mirror when reverse gear is selected to aid parking
  • Rear wiper
  • Reversing lights in bumper
  • Shark fin roof aerial
  • Side windows with tempered safety glass, rear static fixed windows
  • Visible VIN plate
  • Rear shelf cover

Entertainment

  • Auxiliary point for auxiliary devices
  • DAB Digital radio

Interior Features

  • 12V power socket in centre console
  • 50/50 split folding rear seat
  • Additional 12V power socket in right-hand side of boot
  • Additional detachable cupholder
  • Anthracite Velour floor mats
  • Cabin pre-conditioning via iDrive or BMW i Remote App
  • Central cupholder - additional cupholder with clip on function for centre console
  • Conditioned Based Service
  • DC rapid charge preparation
  • Electronic drive selector on steering column to select drive, reverse, neutral or park
  • Foldable front centre armrest with integrated storage compartment
  • Front and rear four seats with individual seat designs
  • Front and rear grab handles in roof linings
  • Front and rear map pockets
  • Front and rear side armrests integrated into door trim
  • Front centre interior light over interior mirror and rear centre automatic interior light when door is opened/ignition switched off or via remote key
  • Front integrated seat backrest and rear height adjustable headrest for all seats
  • Front seat heating
  • Gear selector switch on steering column with control lever in chrome pearl grey with leather inserts in black and gear visual indication
  • Glove box with partitioned sections
  • i3s specific steering characteristics
  • Illuminated charging socket in visual display
  • Isofix child seat attachment for two rear seats
  • LED rear luggage compartment light and glove compartment lights in white
  • Luggage compartment access via recessed handle below tailgate
  • Manually adjustment steering wheel column
  • Multi phase AC fast charge preparation
  • Multi-function controls for steering wheel
  • Pre-heating for battery with active air flap control
  • Single zone automatic air conditioning
  • Slide through light weight front seats with easy access to driver or passenger seat
  • Storage compartment in driver and passenger doors
  • Sunvisors with vanity mirrors and ticket pocket
  • Two folding rear seat headrests
  • BMW Mobility kit with tyre sealing system

Packs

  • Atelier interior world pack - i3
  • Extended storage pack - I3

Safety

  • 3 point seatbelts on all seats, front pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limiters, rear coded belt buckles
  • Active Differential Brake (ADB-Sport) in DSC-OFF mode
  • Airbags - Front driver/passenger, front and rear curtain head protection, front side, manual deactivation of front passenger airbag
  • Anti lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist
  • Automatic Stability Control (ASC)
  • Brake drying
  • Brake energy regeneration
  • Braking readiness
  • CBC - (Cornering brake control)
  • Crash Sensor - Activates hazard warning/interior lighting, central locking release + 12V and HV battery safety cut-off
  • Dynamic brake control
  • Dynamic stability control + (DSC+)
  • Dynamic Traction Control - DTC
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Electronic tyre pressure monitor
  • Front ventilated disc brakes
  • Hill start assist with traction detection
  • Rear solid disc brakes
  • Seatbelt security check for driver and front passenger
  • Side impact protection
  • Twin horns
  • Warning triangle and first aid kit

Security

  • Central locking switches for front doors, bonnet, footwell charging flap, footwell fuel filler flap and tailgate
  • Check control system for monitoring of lights and door/luggage compartment open warning
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • Remote control including integrated two key
  • Stop/start button with comfort go keyless engine start
  • Thatcham category 1 alarm system with remote control and engine immobiliser

Technical

  • BMW eDrive motor
  • BMW integrated differential transmission with electronic parking lock and single forward and reverse gears
  • Drive performance control with ECO PRO+, ECO PRO and comfort modes
  • Safety battery cut-off for drive train and 12V
  • Sports suspension

Wheels

  • Lightweight alloy wheels with unique streamline design
  • Reduced rolling resistance tyres

Emissions

CO

CO2 (g/km)

0

HC

HC+NOx

NOx

Particles

Standard Euro Emissions

EURO 6

Engine and Drive Train

Camshaft

Catalytic Convertor

1

CC

1

Compression Ratio

Cylinder Layout

Cylinders

Cylinders - Bore (mm)

Cylinders - Stroke (mm)

Engine Code

Engine Layout

Fuel Delivery

Gears

1 SPEED

Number of Valves

Transmission

AUTO

Fuel Consumption

EC Combined (mpg)

EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies

EC Extra Urban (mpg)

EC Urban (mpg)

General

Badge Engine CC

0

Badge Power

184

Based On ID

Coin Description

Coin Series

Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07

29E

Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years

6

Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years

3

NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %

NCAP Child Occupant Protection %

NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09

NCAP Pedestrian Protection %

NCAP Safety Assist %

Safety Concerns?

1

Service Interval Frequency - Months

24

Service Interval Mileage

18000

Special Edition

1

Special Order

1

Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage

0

Standard manufacturers warranty - Years

3

Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months

Timing Belt Interval Mileage

Vehicle Homologation Class

M1

Performance

0 to 62 mph (secs)

6.9

Engine Power - BHP

184

Engine Power - KW

135

Engine Power - RPM

7000

Engine Torque - LBS.FT

199

Engine Torque - MKG

27.5

Engine Torque - NM

270

Engine Torque - RPM

Top Speed

99

Tyres

Alloys?

1

Space Saver?

1

Tyre Size Front

175/55 R20

Tyre Size Rear

195/50 R20

Tyre Size Spare

TYRE REPAIR KIT

Wheel Style

Double Spoke Style 431

Wheel Type

20" ALLOY

Vehicle Dimensions

Height

1590

Height (including roof rails)

Length

4006

Wheelbase

2570

Width

1791

Width (including mirrors)

2039

Weight and Capacities

Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)

Gross Vehicle Weight

1730

Luggage Capacity (Seats Down)

1100

Luggage Capacity (Seats Up)

260

Max. Loading Weight

440

Max. Roof Load

Max. Towing Weight - Braked

Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked

Minimum Kerbweight

1290

No. of Seats

4

Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb

10.31

On The Road

Driver Convenience

Entertainment

Exterior Features

Interior Features

Packs

Paintwork

Safety

Security

Trim

Wheels

Summary

We said electric cars were going to get better: here's a great example of just how. BMW's i3 was already a very good product. Now, it makes more sense than ever. As before, this model is unashamedly high-end - you only need to look at the materials it's built from to appreciate that - but as a result, it's leagues more exotic than a conventionally-powered rival with a premium badge. Indeed, its carbon fibre and aluminium construction lends it a technical sheen of cool that's quite different to the usual electric vehicle proposition, which all too often gives off the distinctive whiff of anorak. Costing around £2 to charge, with a real world range of up to around 150 miles on batteries alone, the i3 will work for many suburban commuters looking for something stylish and a bit different to the norm. One day electric vehicles will be cool rather than nerdy and if that happens, we think the i3 will be seen to be the car that started that progression.

Background

If you're of the old school and BMW means shark nosed, six-cylinder, ultimate driving machines to you, the Munich company's i3 electric vehicle is going to appear a wholly alien concept. It's a squat little citycar riding on 155mm wide tyres. Yet delve a little deeper and it doesn't take long to find a strand of proper BMW DNA. It's revealed in the thinking behind the engineering and the logic that went into making the various development decisions. Wherever BMW's engineers could have developed a more focused, technically correct solution, they appear to have done so, allowing for certain cost controls of course. Of course, you might well be part of the 99% of British car buying customers that chooses an internal combustion engine over an electric motor. Your next car and maybe the next one after that will probably be powered by fossil fuels. Even if that is the case, have a look at what the BMW i3 now offers, especially in this improved form with its long 205-mile all-electric operating range. It's building a case for electric vehicles that is becoming ever more convincing.

Driving Experience

As you might expect from a BMW product, the i3 doesn't want for go. The electric motor is mounted low down within the rear axle which helps to keep a low centre of gravity and also to improve crashworthiness. The power unit weighs just 130kg and produces 170bhp in standard form, which means that the i3's power to weight ration of 141bhp per tonne is just 5bhp per tonne shy of a Honda Civic Type R hot hatch. If you're interested in a comparison of that sort, you'll be interested in the slightly pokier i3s variant, where the electric motor's power output is boosted to 184bhp, plus there's sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Whatever i3 variant you choose, as with all electric vehicles, a decisive advantage comes in its amount of torque. In a typical city scoot such as, say, a 1.2-litre Fiat 500, you can count on 102Nm of torque, but this BMW generates a hefty 250Nm of muscle in its standard frm (or 270Nm in 'i3s' guise),offering instant urge with all that torque available from idle. It's sent to the rear wheels via a single-ratio gearbox that offers the choice of three driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+. The i3s has an extra 'Sport' setting. This translates to a car that's certainly not slow off the mark. The standard model will get from standstill to 37mph in 3.8sec and to 62mph in 7.3sec (or 6.9s for the i3s). Either way, any Toyota GT-86 sportscar drivers will have a very hard time keeping pace with an i3. The top speed is limited to 93mph in the standard model or 99mph in the i3s. Extremely direct steering, a low centre of gravity, a clever DSC stability control system and lightweight body structures add up to very focused driving characteristics. BMW has engineered in a little body roll, largely to clue drivers in to where the limits of those narrow tyres are, but this remains a car you can enjoy hustling along. Go for the 'Range Extender' version of this car, as is possible with ether i3 or i3s variants, and a tiny 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine is added to cut in once the battery power is spent.

Design and Build

Think of the i3 as a car in two halves. The bottom half is almost all aluminium, the upper half almost all carbon fibre. Armed with this information, you can rightly surmise that it doesn't weigh very much. Even with the weight of all those batteries - some 230kg comprised of 96 individual cells kept at an optimum 20deg Centigrade by their own air conditioning unit - the i3 only tips the scales at 1,195kg. Compare that to the 1,395kg of the entry-level petrol-powered Mercedes-Benz B Class and you'll appreciate the lengths BMW have gone to keep weight low and efficiency high. The styling is determinedly modern, with the kidney grille being the key BMW styling signature. The black hood, roof and glazed hatch will be characteristic features for future BMW 'i' cars. Adaptive LEDs headlights and floating LED tail lights are standard. The lowered belt line in the rear and absence of a ""B"" pillar improves visibility, while the rear ""coach"" doors make entry easier. As for changes made to this revised model, well there aren't many. The trademark BMW i Black Belt running from the bonnet over the roof to the car's rear end is now complemented by A-pillars and roof lines that also sport a black finish. The front and rear aprons have been restyled and a smart chrome design strip now runs across the full width of the rear end. On the sporty i3s variant, there's a roof line accent with a high-gloss black finish and a rear apron composed of individually styled contours with a black surround frame featuring an extra-wide, body-coloured inlay. As before, the i3 really isn't a very big car, measuring just 3,999mm long, which is only a tad longer than a Ford Fiesta. Despite that, thanks to the flat floor, the thin seats and the low window line, the cabin feels surprisingly roomy. The instrument cluster and Control Display comprise two screens, one behind the steering wheel and the other at the top of the centre console. Interior materials are eco-orientated, with the dashboard and door cards made from dried grass fibres from the kenaf plant and eucalyptus wood being optional. The boot measures 260-litres, but fold the rear seats and you get up to 1,100-litres. Expect that capacity to drop if you choose the range-extender motor. This is a modified version of the 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine used in the company's CT650 GT maxi-scooter, with a nine-litre fuel tank ahead of the front seats.

Market and Model

Value. That's a really tough one to assess in the context of the i3. Prices start at around £34,000 for the standard all-electric model, which sounds quite a lot until you remember that this car qualifies for a generous £4,500 government-funded Plug-in car grant. That takes the asking figure down to just under £30,000, a sum you could easily pay for a pokey diesel version of a similarly-sized premium badged model like an Audi A3 or a Mercedes A-Class. There's a £3,000 premium to pay if you want the sportier 'i3s' variant. And, whether you choose the standard model or the i3s, your dealer will offer you the option of adding in that little 'Range Exender' petrol engine for just over £3,000 more. Go for an i3s with the Range Extender fitted and even after the deduction of the government grant, you'll be looking at needing to shell out around £37,000. The i3 represents the first time carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) have been used in a mass-production electric car. Combined with injected thermoplastics, the i3's body will never rust and will be largely dent resistant.

Cost of Ownership

Can an i3 really make economic sense? It's tempting to conclude that for a typical buyer covering, say, 7,500 miles a year, simply opting for a cheap citycar with a 1.0-litre engine would be a better bet. However, factor in something like the London congestion charge, which could run you over £8,000 for that period, couple it with the minimal fuel bills and likely strong residual values of the i3 and the BMW comes into its own. Put it up against conventional diesel versions of premium rivals like the Audi A1 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and they don't enjoy a massive price advantage, thus making the i3 look increasingly attractive. This car's certainly widened its market scope since BMW gave it an uprated 94Ah powertrain, which on the full-battery-powered model has facilitated an increase in all-electric NEDC driving range from the 112 mile total on offer when this car was originally launched to as much as 205 miles in its current form - quite a change. The 'Range Extended' versions offer a slightly lower all-electric NEDC-rated driving range (up to 146 miles on the standard model and up to 121 miles with the i3s) but of curse, when that expires, you've the advantage of knowing that a frugal little petrol engine will cut in, exending your driving range to as much as 276 miles. The figures just quoted are all European test cycle stats of course: in real world use, we'd probably expect around 120 miles in regular use from the standard all-battery model - maybe 150 miles if you're a feather-foot. Go for the standard 'Range Extender' derivative and of course you can raise that figure substantially - to well over 200 miles. Recharging times vary, but are much quicker, despite the significantly larger battery capacity. A DC Rapid-charge system is now standard and AC charging is now multi-phase, meaning full charging can be completed in under 3 hours with the multi-phase system. As before, the car can also be charged at home using a standard three-pin plug or by specifying a BMW i Wallbox.