This is the car for you if… you want an agile car to nip around town, which doesn’t compromise on style or performance.
The BMW i3 is the marmite of the electric car world: you either love or hate its futuristic styling. But what’s not in dispute is the performance and premium features of this original electric vehicle.
BMW was the first manufacturer to produce a purely electric premium vehicle, launching the i3 in 2013. Which might explain the space age feel to this super-mini car. Even several years on, it still feels like one of the most directional electric cars you can buy.
Take the rear-hinged doors, which expose both the front and back seats when you open up the car. There’s also a lot of glass enclosing the bubble-shaped i3. So it feels more spacious inside than a super-mini car usually does. And the large windscreen adds to that, giving you wide-ranging visibility from behind the wheel.
Like other manufacturers, BMW has gone with the colour blue to denote this agile car’s electric credentials. So there are blue stripes under the front grilles and along the doors. And the seatbelts inside are a vibrant turquoise.
What you can’t see in this state-of-the-art car though are the i3’s sustainable features. And if you’re after an electric vehicle that doesn't just drive you to a greener lifestyle but embodies it from start to finish, then this is the one for you.
BMW has put a lot of thought into creating an electric car that’s better for the environment. So 27 used plastic bottles have gone into making the seats and doors of each car. And there’s the use of unusual natural materials inside. Kenaf, a material harvested from malva plants, for instance, replaces some of the plastic you’d usually find in a car’s interior. Up to 85% of the i3 is also recyclable at the end of its life too.
For BMW advocates, the main selling point of this super-mini will be the familiar luxury driving experience – and the i3 doesn’t disappoint. There’s a premium feel to the interior, even on the standard version. The infotainment system is controlled using a slick silver rotary dial where the gear stick would normally sit. It’s intuitively accessible – and is another example of the attention to detail that’s gone into this super-mini car.
The infotainment system also has lots of handy features. Need to know where the nearest cashpoint is? Call the concierge service and a BMW call centre agent will direct you there. Planning a long journey in Google maps? Send your route direct to your i3’s navigation system.
But what of the driving performance – does it live up to BMW standards? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Despite its small size, the BMW feels mighty. Its fast acceleration means you can whizz in and out of gaps in traffic remarkably easily. There’s a powerful drive behind it. And its tight turning circle makes it a breeze to manoeuvre into small parking spots.
Our three favourite BMW I3 features
- The needs of backseat passengers haven’t been forgotten in the i3: the back windows dip down, giving even the smallest of travellers a panoramic view.
- Chilly morning? Use the key fob to warm up the i3 – no need to start the car.
- The sustainability features in the i3 give it a big green tick from anyone looking to reduce the amount of plastic in their life.
You’ll like the BMW i3 if you… want a luxury electric car, but in super-mini size.