We were fans of the BMW i3 when it came out because of its nimble handling, eager acceleration and distinctive interior styling. That's all present in the 2017 BMW i3, but now it a bigger battery for improved all-electric range. If you're looking for a premium yet practical EV, the i3 is your car.
Most would rightly conclude that the BMW i3 is some kind of eco-car when gazing at its unconventional styling. But there's more to this electric vehicle than skinny tires and compact dimensions.
In designing the i3 to be a dedicated electric vehicle at the outset, BMW went to great lengths to maximize the potential of the car's electric motor and battery pack. And so it is a featherweight car whose body shell is made entirely of carbon fiber, a racing-derived material that is stronger than steel yet lighter than aluminum. The result is spirited acceleration, more range for a given size of battery and an uncommonly low center of mass that fosters the i3 nimble handling.
The optional Range Extender's gasoline engine generates electricity once the battery runs low, but please don't compare this to a Chevrolet Volt. BMW is aiming for a higher electric vehicle classification than the Volt, so its tiny 0.6-liter two-cylinder engine and 2.5-gallon gas tank are intentionally insufficient for interstate travel.
- Expanded driving range meet most daily needs
- Strong yet lightweight chassis makes it quick and nimble
- Attractive and well-crafted interior has a unique architectural style
- Commanding driving position is highly adjustable
- Reverse-hinged rear doors not ideal for passengers in parking lots
- Range extender is not intended for cross-country travel
- Cargo area isn't large, and has a high load floor