BMW i3 Review: 11 Miles to Change
Think really hard about the act of driving; think about everything that happens in our brains while we drive. Many things happen when we sit down and buckle up that we don’t always realize.
Remember that feeling of being sixteen and being tingly behind the wheel? We eventually take those things for granted. For example: our eyes constantly scan the road for objects or traffic, our ears engage and listen for a cop, or the siren of an ambulance, and lastly, our hands and feet dance a precise ballet on the steering wheel and pedals – all without us noticing it. Driving is like riding a bike, after a while it all comes natural. For most of us at least. Yes, I’m talking to you “Mr. Oblivious to everything around me while I drive 40 mph on the highway!”
Then comes a vehicle like the BMW i3. How long do you think it would it take you to forget almost everything you’ve ever learned about driving? How long would it take you to learn a few new things? For me, it was just eleven miles.
Say hello to the BMW i3. For an automaker known for their sporty and luxury cars, you may be wondering: what the hell? How does this small, electric and quite eccentric hatchback/suv/crossover/thing live up to its Bavarian badge? Surprisingly, it really does! It’s built exquisitely, it’s quiet, it’s smooth and it feels more planted than a BMW 1-Series. But let’s get to the meat and potatoes, what’s so nifty about this car and all of its technology?
Here are 11 reasons why the BMW i3 rocks the radical future ahead of us:
- The i3 looks like it’s from the future. If you don’t think so; go find your grandma or grandpa and show it to them. They will agree.
- It doesn’t use gasoline, it uses electricity and it’s not slow, and it’s not lame. It’s quite the opposite.
- Its entire chassis is made of aluminum, and its cabin shell is all carbon fiber. Fancy stuff.
- It’s electric, so it’s obviously very quiet, but there is no disconnect. It gives you great feedback on what’s going on like most BMWs.
- It has LED daytime and night time running lights. LEDs are the future. (Or so every auto manufacturer thinks)
- It’s extremely comfortable, and it can baby. My 3-year-old loved cruising in the i3, and she still calls them out every time she sees one.
- It’s spacious and very practical. I fit my toddler’s bike and groceries in the trunk. So no need to move up to the i3s hideous bigger X1 sister. Front and rear legroom are phenomenal!
- You can increase your gas savings by using the BMW iCharging station, and setting a specific time for your beloved electric baby to recharge. Most utilities providers offer heavily reduced kilowatt/hour rates in between 1 and 5 in the morning.
- It has “suicide” style doors (or ‘coach’ style for you proper folk), which makes toddler loading and loading an absolute breeze. Also great for you pet-parents.
- Are you ready for this one? It drives with only ONE pedal! I mean it still has a throttle and brake pedal, but due to its amazing regenerative braking, the i3 quickly and smoothly decelerates to a halt once you let-off the throttle. It took me just 11 miles to get used to this, after that; I was a one-pedal-driving-master. Super cool.
- Its interior is also from the future. BMW refers to it as Scandinavian, I refer to it as IKEA-n. This is the only area where I wasn’t fully impressed, but I didn’t care because the massive LED screen/dash in front of me was just too awesome to ignore. Even though the interior style is questionable, the material and build quality are top notch.
Driving an i3 does require a little bit of adjusting, but not like most electric cars out there. In fact, the BMW i3 can be ordered with a “range-extender” engine which is only a $1,150 option, and it will increase your 80 mile battery range to 150 miles. The tiny 2 cylinder engine fills up with only 1.9 gallons of fuel, and it also happens to be less than half the cost of the optional $3,800 Bang and Olufsen audio system BMW is willing to put in your 7-Series.
So what’s not to love? Well, it’s not cheap, most loaded i3s will set you back around 50k, and that’s quite a bit more than a Prius or a Leaf. But that’s actually a good thing, because this is a BMW, and you can actually feel that when you are behind the wheel. You can sense all the years that bearded men in lab coats spent writing algorithms on a board.
Welcome to the future, as BMW knows it. Now let’s try an i8, shall we?