Performance Tested - 2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

2014 BMW i3 Long-Term Road Test

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2014 BMW i3: Performance Tested

February 5, 2015

2014 BMW i3

So far, our 2014 BMW i3 has been a hit with everyone in the office. It didn't take long for the quirky electric i3 to be ready to undergo our standard series of tests at the track. Our first test was fully charged in default electric mode. Upon depleting the battery, we ran a second test solely on the gasoline-powered range extender. Here's what we found.

Vehicle: 2014 BMW i3 with Range Extender

Odometer: 1,606

Date: 1/20/2015

Driver: Chris Walton

Price: $54,800

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: one-speed direct drive
Engine Type: Permanent magnet synchronous electric motor
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 170 @ 4,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 184 @ 0-4,800
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated disc with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece solid disc with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers

Tire Size (front): 155/60R20 80Q
Tire Size (rear): 175/55R20 85Q
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: Ecopia EP500
Tire Type:  Low rolling resistance, summer
As-Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,124

Test Results: 

Acceleration: (All runs with Traction Control on. Secondary runs are with the battery depleted and range extender recharging the battery)
0-30 (sec): 3.1 (w/ battery depleted 3.8)
0-45 (sec): 4.7 (w/ battery depleted 7.7)
0-60 (sec): 7.1 (w/ battery depleted 13.7)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.8 (w/ battery depleted 13.3) 
0-75 (sec): 11.2 (w/ battery depleted no time) 
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.6 @ 85.6 (w/ battery depleted 19.2 @ 64.7)

30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 111

Slalom (mph): 63.2 w/ESC on
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.78 w/ESC on


Acceleration comments: Just like the i3 without the range extender, the car simply eases into gentle, linear acceleration that has no peaks/valleys or shifts. It's probably a good guess that this i3 is slightly slower across the board due to the added weight of the range-extending engine.

Braking comments: Again, just like a previous i3, this one stops remarkably short for how little tire contact patch is on the road. Excellent stability and little dive with good heat capacity in the brake system that allows it to maintain good effectiveness despite repeated stops.

Handling comments: I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but as with a previous i3 slalom test, the steering ratio is so quick, and so difficult to acclimate to during testing, that I wonder if consumers are noticing. It requires very little driver input to affect a pretty drastic change in direction and attitude. What the i3 has going for it, however, is its short wheelbase, wide track and sophisticated electronic-stability program (ESP) that allow it to weave through the cones with enthusiasm and confidence (zoomy steering notwithstanding). The i3 with range extender was better able to manage its extra weight here (essentially making identical results) than it was during acceleration and braking where the test results show a negligible difference. On the skidpad, the ESP would first reduce the vehicle speed with very subtle throttle adjustments before it would actually grab a brake. Steering was less frenetic/unpredictable here as the steady state doesn't draw attention to the quick responses seen in the slalom.

Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 1,606 miles

2014 BMW i3

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