2020 BMW i3

What’s new

  • Edition RoadStyle offers unique exterior and interior styling details
  • No other significant changes
  • Part of the first i3 generation introduced for 2014

Pros & Cons

  • Lightweight chassis makes the i3 quick and nimble
  • Well-crafted interior offers distinctive styling
  • Available range-extender model
  • Pricier than rivals
  • Reverse-hinged rear doors are suboptimal in parking lots
  • Cargo area isn't large and has a high load floor
Other years
MSRP Starting at
$44,450

Save as much as $1,394
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2020 BMW i3 Review

It's been six model years since the original BMW i3 debuted, yet the 2020 i3 remains one of the most unusual cars on the market today. Its body is made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, an expensive but strong and lightweight material normally found on exotic supercars. The i3 is pretty small as cars go, but it's surprisingly roomy inside and fitted with attractive materials.

The i3 is also distinctive in that you can get one as a pure electric car or opt for the Range Extender model, which uses a two-cylinder gasoline engine to recharge the battery when you run out of electricity. Other 2020 EVs have fresher designs and more range, but overall the i3 is worth a look.

What's it like to live with?

For more information on the BMW i3 of this generation, read about our experiences from a full year of living with a 2014 BMW i3 Range Extender. We cover everything from range to comfort. We liked it for its nimble driving characteristics and distinctive interior but had less positive things to say about the rear door and cargo space. Note that the 2020 i3 comes with a larger battery with more additional range, DC fast charging and a newer infotainment system, but most of our observations still apply.

Edmunds’ Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team

Our verdict

7.8 / 10
You'll like the i3 if you're looking for a distinctive and sporty electric vehicle. Its interior looks cool and upscale, and the car's light weight and small size make it fun to drive around in the city. But the i3's elevated price, mediocre range and compromised practicality are significant drawbacks.

How does it drive?

8.5
The BMW i3 is a surprisingly good all-around performer. Even though it's equipped with skinny, eco-minded tires, the i3 exhibits excellent handling abilities. Credit is due to the low center of gravity afforded by its lightweight carbon-fiber construction and low-mounted battery pack.

The quick, responsive steering is an acquired taste since it can make the i3 feel a little darty at highway speeds. In our testing, the i3 (the Range Extender model) accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. It's decently quick compared to similarly sized hatchbacks, but the i3 lacks the prodigious acceleration of other EVs such as the Tesla Model 3.

Around town, it's pretty easy to use the i3's strong off-throttle regenerative braking most of the time for slowing down, so you rarely need to use the brake pedal.

How comfortable is it?

7.0
The i3 affords a surprisingly good degree of comfort overall. The front seats are thin, firm and offer little lateral support and zero adjustable lumbar. On paper, it's a recipe for disaster, but BMW has somehow made them quite pleasant to sit in. The rear seats sit a bit higher and are also comfortable.

The i3's carbon-fiber structure is supremely rigid, which virtually eliminates shudder and shake on rough roads. The suspension does an admirable job of absorbing road imperfections and potholes, but no one would describe the ride as plush.

The single-zone climate system works well, but it's a little basic for a luxury vehicle at this price. Even stranger is the fact that it adjusts in 2-degree increments. The cabin is usually remarkably quiet most of the time. The exception is when the gas generator comes on after the battery is depleted. It sounds like a tiny lawnmower is following you.

How’s the interior?

7.5
Despite its diminutive size, the i3 is remarkably adult-friendly. Without an engine in front, there's room for a larger passenger cell, with plenty of head- and legroom all around. It is fairly narrow, however, and the rear only seats two. The i3's cabin is unusually laid out, but once you figure everything out, the controls are easy to use.

Also unusual are the i3's reverse-hinged rear doors. They open wide to admit passengers or packages, but that's only if you have the space to do so. You'll often find yourself corralled by the front and rear doors when trying to get in and out of tight parking lots. Rear passengers can't let themselves out either.

How’s the tech?

7.5
BMW uses its older iDrive infotainment system in the i3, but that's OK with us. It's actually easier to use than what you'll find in, say, a 3 Series. The standard 6.5-inch screen is quite small, especially considering how far away it is from the front passengers. The optional 10.25-inch screen is preferred, as is the available Harman Kardon audio system for its superior sound. Apple CarPlay comes standard, and BMW's superb onboard phone integration software somewhat makes up for the fact that Android Auto is not offered.

The i3 doesn't offer every new driver assistance feature, but what is here works well. BMW voice controls don't require a rigid command structure, but we found some variability in its ability to understand what we said.

How’s the storage?

7.5
The cabin offers numerous spots to store your stuff. There are large door bins, a useful shelf on the dashboard, and a small bin under the front armrest. Rear passengers have dual cupholders in the space between seats. Trunk space is OK. The rear-mounted electric drive motor and generator necessitate a raised cargo floor, but the i3's tall roof makes the cargo area usable.

Got little kids? the reverse-hinged rear doors give the i3 uncommonly good access to front-facing child safety seats. The two car seat positions benefit from car seat and Isofix anchors that are easily accessed under plastic covers. But space for and access to larger rear-facing seats can be tough, and the open rear door may impede stroller access to the hatch.

How economical is it?

7.0
According to the EPA, the regular BMW i3 uses 30 kWh of electricity for every 100 miles of driving. The i3 with the Range Extender uses a bit more: 32 kWh. This is OK, though other EVs are even more efficient, specifically the Model 3 with its rating of 25 kWh/100 miles.

Range is also lackluster. The regular i3 can go an EPA-estimated 153 miles, which is less than most other EVs. The Range Extender model is even lower — 126 miles — but you can go farther once the generator kicks on — for about 200 miles total before you'll have to stop and refuel.

Is it a good value?

7.5
The BMW i3's price in the mid- to high $40,000s didn't seem steep when it first launched, given its advanced materials, sufficient feature content and high-end cabin. But now that the Tesla Model 3 exists, it's not the coolest kid on the block anymore. It's also not the most spacious or practical.

BMW offers bumper-to-bumper coverage for four years/50,000 miles. Complimentary maintenance is included for the first three years.

Wildcard

9.0
Six years after its first year of production, the i3 still doesn't look like anything else on the road. The i3's exterior styling puts the "funk" in functional, and the interior looks like it was put together by architects, not engineers. Even after all this time, the i3 truly feels like something special.

The rear-wheel-drive platform, lightweight construction and compact dimensions make the i3 quick, responsive and nimble. The electric motor imbues it with smooth acceleration and a mostly silent ride, while aggressive regenerative braking makes one-pedal driving fun and efficient.

Which i3 does Edmunds recommend?

While we like the styling of the i3s, we don't think its restyled bumpers, larger wheels and marginally more powerful motor are worth the premium it commands. Stick with the standard i3 instead, and opt for the Technology + Driving Assistant package if you want to make the daily commute a little easier.

BMW i3 models

The 2020 BMW i3 is a four-door hatchback with seating for four passengers. It's available in i3 or i3s trim, both of which are all-electric by default. You can also get them equipped with a gasoline-powered Range Extender, which uses a two-cylinder gasoline and a 2.3-gallon tank to recharge the battery once it runs out. All four versions are powered with a 42-kWh battery that is good for 153 miles of range in the electric-only version or 126 miles in the Range Extender model.

Base i3 models have an electric motor (170 horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque) that drives the rear wheels. The i3s is the sportier, better-handling version of the i3, with an electric motor that cranks out 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque.

i3
The standard i3 comes with a healthy list of features, including:

  • 19-inch wheels
  • LED headlights
  • DC fast-charging capability
  • Keyless entry and push-button start
  • Auto-dimming mirrors
  • Automatic single-zone climate control
  • Heated front seats
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Navigation system
  • 6.5-inch central display screen
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Front and rear parking sensors (alerts you to obstacles that may not be visible behind or in front of the vehicle when parking)

i3s
Aside from the more powerful electric motor, the i3s adds:

  • 20-inch wheels with performance tires
  • Black exterior trim
  • Restyled bumpers

There's also a new Edition RoadStyle variant for the i3s. It features:

  • Black exterior paint with black-painted rims
  • Orange exterior accents
  • Brown leather upholstery
  • Brown wood interior trim

A number of options are available for both i3 and i3s models. These include:

  • Mega World (cloth upholstery with imitation leather inserts)
  • Giga World (cloth upholstery with leather inserts)
  • Tera World (leather upholstery)
  • Sunroof
  • Wireless charging pad and Wi-Fi hotspot
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
  • Automated parking system (steers into a parking spot with no driver intervention)
  • Technology + Driving Assistant package
    • Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
    • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the i3 and the car in front)
    • Cornering lights (illuminate to enhance your field of view while turning)
    • Advanced navigation system
    • 10.25-inch central display screen

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2020 BMW i3.

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    Features & Specs

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    Transmission1-speed direct drive
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    See all 2020 BMW i3 features & specs

    Safety

    Our experts’ favorite i3 safety features:

    Active Driving Assistant
    Reduces the likelihood and severity of a front collision by issuing a warning before intervening with automatic emergency braking.
    Active Cruise Control With Stop & Go
    Manages the gap to the car ahead, even down to a standstill in routine stop-and-go traffic; alerts you in sudden slowdown situations.
    Tire Pressure Monitor
    Warns you of insufficient tire pressure well before a slow leak can lead to a blowout.
    IIHS Rating

    The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.

    Side Impact Test
    Good
    Roof Strength Test
    Good
    Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
    IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
    Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

    BMW i3 vs. the competition

    BMW i3 vs. Tesla Model 3

    The Tesla Model 3 presents the most serious challenge to the BMW i3. The Model 3 is styled like a traditional sedan, with a dedicated trunk space and more rear passenger room than the i3. The Model 3's interior isn't as nice, and Tesla insists on using a single touchscreen to house all driving information and infotainment systems. But the Tesla is also less expensive and has better range and performance. Read Edmunds' long-term road test of the Tesla Model 3.

    Compare BMW i3 & Tesla Model 3 features

    BMW i3 vs. Kia Niro EV

    If you don't mind going for a more conventional nameplate, the Kia Niro EV is another outstanding small electric vehicle. The Niro EV has plenty of cabin space and a strong list of available features. It doesn't have the BMW's unique interior or the Tesla's explosive performance, but the Kia is well priced and offers considerable range on a full charge.

    Compare BMW i3 & Kia Niro EV features

    BMW i3 vs. Audi e-tron

    The Audi e-tron is much more expensive than the others listed here, but it's also one of the most refined luxury electric vehicles. Introduced just last year, the e-tron uses Audi's newest interior design language and cutting-edge features. The only downsides are the price and electric range, which barely crests the 200-mile mark.

    Compare BMW i3 & Audi e-tron features

    FAQ

    Is the BMW i3 a good car?
    The Edmunds experts tested the 2020 i3 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 7.8 out of 10. You probably care about BMW i3 energy consumption, so it's important to know that the i3 gets an EPA-estimated 100 mpg-e to 113 mpg-e, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the i3 has 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a BMW i3. Learn more
    What's new in the 2020 BMW i3?

    According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 BMW i3:

    • Edition RoadStyle offers unique exterior and interior styling details
    • No other significant changes
    • Part of the first i3 generation introduced for 2014
    Learn more
    Is the BMW i3 reliable?
    To determine whether the BMW i3 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the i3. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the i3's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
    Is the 2020 BMW i3 a good car?
    There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2020 BMW i3 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2020 i3 and gave it a 7.8 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2020 i3 is a good car for you. Learn more
    How much should I pay for a 2020 BMW i3?

    The least-expensive 2020 BMW i3 is the 2020 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback (electric DD). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $44,450.

    Other versions include:

    • s 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) which starts at $47,650
    • 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) which starts at $44,450
    • s 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD) which starts at $51,500
    • 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD) which starts at $48,300
    Learn more
    What are the different models of BMW i3?
    If you're interested in the BMW i3, the next question is, which i3 model is right for you? i3 variants include s 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), s 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD), and 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD). For a full list of i3 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

    More about the 2020 BMW i3

    2020 BMW i3 Overview

    The 2020 BMW i3 is offered in the following submodels: i3 Hatchback. Available styles include s 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), s 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD), and 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD).

    What do people think of the 2020 BMW i3?

    Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2020 BMW i3 and all its trim types. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2020 i3.

    Edmunds Expert Reviews

    Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2020 BMW i3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2020 i3 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

    Our Review Process

    This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

    We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

    What's a good price for a New 2020 BMW i3?

    2020 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD)

    The 2020 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $52,795. The average price paid for a new 2020 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD) is trending $1,394 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.

    Edmunds members save an average of $1,394 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $51,401.

    The average savings for the 2020 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD) is 2.6% below the MSRP.

    Available Inventory:

    We are showing 2 2020 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback w/Range Extender (electric DD) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.

    Which 2020 BMW i3s are available in my area?

    Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2020 BMW i3 for sale near. There are currently 2 new 2020 i3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $52,095 and mileage as low as 5 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2020 BMW i3.

    Can't find a new 2020 BMW i3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

    Find a new BMW i3 for sale - 8 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $14,729.

    Find a new BMW for sale - 4 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $24,567.

    Why trust Edmunds?

    Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

    Should I lease or buy a 2020 BMW i3?

    Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

    Check out BMW lease specials