Giga World ($1,700 -- includes universal garage opener, keyless ignition and entry, satellite radio, special cloth/leather upholstery, leather and wood trim dash); Sport 20-Inch Wheels ($1,300); Parking Assistant Package ($1,000 -- includes rearview camera, parking sensors, automated parking system); Harman Kardon Sound System ($800); DC Fast Charging ($700); Solar Orange/Frozen Grey Paint ($550); Heated Front Seats ($350)
Permanent magnet synchronous electric motor
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
170 @ 4,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
184 @ 0-4,800
Single-speed direct drive
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
Without any ability to affect change (like a Sport mode or traction control button), the i3 is as consistent as a metronome -- and pretty quick, too. Run after run, it just goes and goes and goes without shifting gears, or much sound at all (a slight whirring) aside from tire and wind noise. Like the Mini E that feels very much like this, releasing the throttle elicits readily recognizable regenerative braking.
Very well-mannered under braking with modest nosedive, straight and stable without a need to correct with steering, and consistent stopping distances. The brakes feel as normal as any other car's in this simulated panic stop test.
The most noticeable trait of the steering is how quickly it reacts once it's turned even a little off the center position. While this is a nice thing for a test-driver performing a slalom test, I'm not sure it would be so valuable or welcome in everyday driving -- especially on the highway. That said, steering is light and precise, and despite looking rather tall and tippy, the i3's body roll is less than other compacts and it changes direction readily and confidently. Electronic stability control (ESC) begins to intervene just as the tires begin to howl, but the corrections to the course are very subtle and short-lived and most people might never know the system was active. Sportier than it looks, but then again, it wears a BMW badge so I would hope so.