2016 BMW i3: The Sporty EV Hatchback

04.09.16 - BMW i3

While many of us enjoy the drive of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt the BMW i3 is where you want to be if you want to drive a car that offers some luxury features to the mix of EV equipment. The i3 has carbon fiber reinforcements and open space interior concept and can be had with a gasoline backup engine that helps make it a car that isn’t limited to where charging stations are placed like the Nissan Leaf. This is a great little EV hatchback that you can enjoy even while seeing the Bolt and Model 3 on the horizon from Chevrolet and Tesla.

What makes the i3 the car you want to own? It’s an EV, but there are several of those that are a bit less expensive. It’s a hatchback, but you can find plenty hatchbacks for a lot less. It’s a BMW, and that is really the answer. With the BMW badge you know the engineering and drive are set up to be more fun than any other EV model. This should put the i3 higher on your list than the Prius or Leaf and with the gasoline backup you can drive much farther than even the Tesla Model S.

Not only will you enjoy the amazing efficiency the i3 offers but you can love the drive as well. The technology aboard helps to give you a drive that is delivered directly to the wheels right away because it’s an EV that will offer you the instant feeling of the torque. This energetic little car can reach sixty mph in only seven seconds, which is saying something when you consider the small powertrain that is placed in this car. The ride is exactly what you expect from a BMW, making this a car that you can enjoy on any road.

Let’s take a look at that powertrain. The i3 is powered by a hybrid synchronous electric motor that has a backup 650 cc gasoline engine which is only a generator for the electric motor. This small gasoline engine is much smaller than many motorcycles now have. Using the ECO PRO mode you can add about twelve percent of range and using the ECO PRO+ will add an additional twelve percent. This engine uses a single speed transmission and is setup in RWD to give you a sporty drive. The range from a single full charge is anywhere from eighty to one hundred miles and the range extender adds another fifty to the overall range this vehicle can travel before recharging. The recharge time is about three hours on a 220-volt station which is what you want to use because a standard 110-volt outlet will take over twenty hours to charge.

Inside the i3 you see eucalyptus wood across the dashboard and materials that are meant to be recyclable to continue the thought of being a car that has no emissions or effect on the environment. The seats are comfortable, even in the back and there is some space behind the rear seats for some stuff. In the dashboard you will notice the large screen displays that give you all the control information you need. Visibility is excellent in this car from all four seating positions to give you a great way to ride and see what is going on around you. The earth-friendly features of the interior may be a bit more than you expect, but this car is meant to be good for the planet while also showing off as a fun little EV to own.

On the outside this is a car that you will have a hard time taking your eyes off. The front end features the signature twin kidney grill shape, but it’s much smaller than on gasoline powered vehicles. The snub nose and small headlights make for an interesting appearance while the high and wide stance let you know this is an athlete for you to enjoy. With some carbon fiber across the body you will see the way this car has stayed trim and fit, ready to compete wherever you need its enthusiastic drive to go. To make it easier for rear passengers to enter the rear seat the rear doors open outward to give easier access, making this a car that has been thoroughly thought out.

The i3 offers three trims for you to choose from; Mega, Giga and Tera (get it). The Mega is the base and it offers a navigation system, LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, a DC fast charging port which allows you to charge to 80 percent in only 20 minutes, heated seats, Sensatec leather-like upholstery and the ConnectedDrive system which can sync to your smartphone. The Giga trim adds leather and wool interior, a sunroof and the iComfort Access System that brings in keyless entry. The Tera model has real leather upholstery and the 19-inch wheels to make it the top model.

There are some options for you to choose from, one of which is the range extender to give you more miles before you need to recharge. Other upgrades include a 12-speaker/360-watt Harman/Kardon audio system, the Navigation Professional System with range assistant, real time traffic information, Traffic Jam Assist, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic parking and collision mitigation with automatic braking to help avoid an accident. With these features added you won’t have any doubt this is a great car from BMW that has been given a lot of thought and work to become a reality.

For the i3 the Mega trim model starts at $43,395 with the addition of the Range Extender bringing the price up to $47,245. This is a car that is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit and higher rim levels will cost quite a bit more than this base model. Even at over $50,000 this is a car you can see as a leader in the segment of EV models with all the amazing technology and equipment that is aboard this cool little hatchback.

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