2018 BMW i3
- Quick and nimble due to lightweight chassis
- Well-crafted, contemporary interior has a distinctive style
- Available range-extender model
- Less range than its primary rivals
- Reverse-hinged rear doors are suboptimal in parking lots
- Cargo area isn't large and has a high load floor
2018 BMW i3 pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which i3 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating4.5 / 5
The BMW i3 is probably one of the most innovative cars on the road today. That's true even though it's currently in its fifth model year. BMW pioneered the use of carbon fiber as the basis for the production car's structure to save weight. And it paid off: The i3 is quite lightweight for a battery-electric car, abetting its agile nature and quick acceleration. Other manufacturers still have a ways to go to catch up to BMW in this choice of material.
The i3's styling is polarizing; of that there is no doubt. But it looks like no other car on the road and has a cabin that is truly striking and upscale. It's functional, too, with a breezy, spacious feel and easy backseat access thanks to the rearward-hinged rear doors. These doors can turn into a bit of a hassle in tight parking lot quarters, however.
You've got a new choice for an i3 this year: the i3s. It boasts a more powerful electric motor, a sport-tuned suspension, and wider tires to improve performance and handling. BMW is still offering the Range Extender version, too, which has a tiny gasoline engine (and fuel tank) that serves as an electric generator. It gives you a little more range once the battery runs out of juice, but the main appeal is peace of mind.
From a logical standpoint, the 2018 BMW i3 doesn't fare all that great in relation to its main competitors. You can get more driving range from the Chevrolet Bolt and the Nissan Leaf, for instance, and both cars are less expensive to boot. But the BMW earns back some emotional points by being a nicer car to drive and spend time in. The same could be said for Tesla's new Model 3, however. It matches the i3 for premium design and performance and, as the kicker, offers potentially two or three times the driving range.
Notably, we picked the 2018 BMW i3 as one of Edmunds' Best Electric Cars for this year.
Trim levels & features
The 2018 BMW i3 is a four-door hatchback with seating for four passengers that's available in i3 or i3s trim, both of which are battery-electric, or you can have either one additionally equipped with a gasoline-powered Range Extender. All four versions are equipped with a 33-kWh battery.
Base i3 models are equipped with an electric motor (170 hp, 184 lb-ft of torque) that drives the rear wheels. With the same battery as last year's model, there's enough energy for an estimated 114 miles of range. It comes well equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and Level 3 DC fast-charging capability. Inside, the interior upholstery is cloth (Deka World) and it comes with keyless entry, rain-sensing headlights, adaptive cruise, heated front seats, Bluetooth, HD and satellite radio, and BMW's basic Business navigation system with a modest 6.5-inch display screen.
New this year is the i3s, which has more power and sharper handling than the i3. The electric motor in the i3s cranks out 184 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, which shortens its sprint from zero to 60 mph to 6.8 seconds (0.4 second quicker than the base i3). Compared to the i3, the i3s' ride height sits 0.4 inch lower, and its fenders, track width (the distance between the center of the tires), 20-inch wheels and performance tires are wider. The wider, stickier tires come with a modest penalty — maximum range drops to 107 miles.
The only difference between the all-electric and the Range Extender versions is, quite simply, the range-extending, 0.6-liter two-cylinder gasoline generator, which is the same as last year's. Because the Range Extender is heavier, these models don't travel quite as far when operating on electricity alone, maxing out at an estimated 97 miles. A 2.3-gallon fuel tank enables a combined range of 180 miles for both Range Extender versions of i3 and i3s models.
All models can be equipped with the Technology + Driving Assistant package, which adds advanced navigation with a widescreen display and advanced real-time traffic, all-speed adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with emergency braking. Opting for this package allows Apple CarPlay to be added, too.
For the i3, BMW offers three main upholstery packages — Mega World, Giga World and Tera World — that add combinations of leather and wool or full-leather upholstery plus different wheels and interior trim. Stand-alone options include parking sensors, 20-inch wheels (for the regular i3), a premium Harman Kardon audio system and a sunroof.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2017 BMW i3 w/Range Extender (battery electric w/0.6L 2-cyl. gasoline generator | 1-speed direct drive | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current i3 has received some revisions, including an updated infotainment system and a revised stability control calibration. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's i3.
Noise & vibration3
Ease of use4
Getting in/getting out3
Child safety seat accommodation4
Audio & navigation5
Most helpful consumer reviews
2018 BMW i3 video
[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK TAKAHASHI: Hey, everybody. I'm here at the Frankfurt Motor Show, taking a look at the slightly refreshed BMW i3. Now it's got some cosmetic changes here and there, but really, really, they're slight. So slight, honestly, I don't know what they changed. The bigger news, however, is they're introducing a new model called the i3S. As you'd expect, the S stands for Sport. Don't really expect too much sportiness from an i3, but it's got a marginal increase. So it has 184 horsepower. Now that compares against the regular 170 horsepower. On top of that, it's got a sportier suspension that's just a little bit lower, by about a quarter of an inch. It also has slightly wider tires, though it's kind of hard to tell, because the i3 already had really, really narrow tires. With this increase in power, it should get to 60 miles an hour in about a half second quicker than the regular version, so expect in the low to mid six second range. Like the regular i3, it will also have the range-extender option. Inside, the i3 also has a slightly updated infotainment screen. Should be a higher resolution and some new features here and there. One of the newer tech features is actually a parking helper. In certain urban areas, it will point out your most likely areas to find a parking spot. Now that's really helpful. Look for these i3s to start showing up in dealerships somewhere near the end of 2017. For more information on the i3, and any other EV, head over to Edmunds.com. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you want to see more videos like this, hit subscribe and check out all of our other videos. [MUSIC PLAYING]
2018 BMW i3 Frankfurt Auto Show Debut
Edmunds 2018 BMW i3 debut from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Senior Writer Mark Takahashi takes a look at the refreshed 2018 BMW i3. The EV hatchback received cosmetic changes so slight that it's difficult to be able to tell what's new. But the big news is the introduction of the i3s model -- "s" as in "Sport" -- which has 184 horsepower, a marginal increase over the 170 hp of the regular model. Watch the video for more details about the new "sporty" i3 EV.
Features & Specs
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 driver in sudden slowdown situations.
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Warns driver of insufficient tire pressure well before a slow unnoticed leak can lead to a blowout-caused roadside stranding or accident.
2018 BMW i3 for Sale
Sharp handling, rapid acceleration and unique interior styling have made us fans of the BMW i3 since its debut. For 2018, the i3 gets a modest face-lift, loses the base 60 Ah version, and gains a variant that has more power and sharper handling.
The i3 was built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, freeing its stylists from the need to make room for a bulky gasoline engine and fuel tank. Instead, the i3 was shaped around its battery and a compact electric motor, giving it a unique profile. BMW wanted to make the car as light as possible and, as such, it manufactures the body shell entirely of carbon fiber, a material stronger than steel yet lighter than aluminum.
We like the i3's unconventional interior. The controls are laid out in an intuitive fashion, and the driving position is excellent. The back seat is roomier than you might expect, though entry is a two-step process because you must first open the front doors before you can open the rear-hinged back doors. The trunk is on the small side at 15.1 cubic feet, and because the drive motor and optional range extender are placed under the trunk floor, the loading height is rather high.
Base i3 models are powered by a 170-horsepower electric motor that drives the rear wheels. For 2018, an i3s model has been added, and it has 184 hp, a sport-tuned suspension and summer tires.
BMW also offers a Range Extender trim level each for the i3 and i3s, which has a tiny 0.6-liter two-cylinder gasoline engine fed by a 2.3-gallon fuel tank. When the battery runs low, the engine generates electrical power to extend the i3's total range to about 180 miles. Unlike the Chevrolet Volt's ample gasoline range, the i3's engine is really just a get-you-home measure. By design, it's insufficient for interstate travel.
The i3's performance is surprisingly good. You can expect 0-60 mph to take about 7 seconds, which is quick for an electric car. The range extender adds 265 pounds of weight, so expect slightly slower acceleration. The new i3s is the sportiest of the bunch.
The super-skinny front tires might cast doubt on the i3's handling prowess, but with a low center of gravity and an even front-to-rear weight balance, the i3 is an entertaining BMW. The short wheelbase makes for great maneuverability, though it can feel somewhat darty and sensitive at freeway speeds.
The i3 is offered in base, i3s and Range Extender models. There are options, but it's a modest list by BMW standards. Use Edmunds' incomparable shopping tools to help you find the perfect BMW i3.
2018 BMW i3 Overview
The 2018 BMW i3 is offered in the following submodels: i3 Hatchback. Available styles include w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), s w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD), and s 4dr Hatchback (electric DD).
What do people think of the 2018 BMW i3?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 BMW i3 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2018 i3 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. 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 2018 i3.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 BMW i3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 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 2018 BMW i3?
2018 BMW i3 s w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
The 2018 BMW i3 s w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $58,845. The average price paid for a new 2018 BMW i3 s w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) is trending $3,480 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $3,480 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is$55,365.
The average savings for the 2018 BMW i3 s w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) is5.9% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 1 2018 BMW i3 s w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburnarea.
2018 BMW i3 w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
The 2018 BMW i3 w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $54,845. The average price paid for a new 2018 BMW i3 w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) is trending $4,184 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $4,184 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is$50,661.
The average savings for the 2018 BMW i3 w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) is7.6% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 2 2018 BMW i3 w/Range Extender 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburnarea.
2018 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)Available Inventory:
We are showing 2 2018 BMW i3 4dr Hatchback (electric DD) vehicle(s) available in the in the Ashburnarea.
Which 2018 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) 2018 BMW i3 for sale near. There are currently 11 new 2018 i3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $46,745 and mileage as low as 0 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 Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2018 BMW i3. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $4,194 on a used or CPO 2018 i3 available from a dealership near you.
Can't find a new 2018 BMW i3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a new BMW i3 for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $21,409.
Find a new BMW for sale - 5 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $19,039.
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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 2018 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.