L&T Motorsport

BMW i3: Fun or Flop?

BMW is known for their fire breathing M series but recently they have also been known for their i series. An eco friendly branch of the company. To date they have released the hybrid powered i8, a car many of us would drool over. As well as the i3, a small, funky looking, electric hatchback.

Most petrol heads see this car as either ┬áthe beginning of the downfall of the internal combustion engine or another small electric car that isn’t worth our time. A little context before my opinion of the car, I daily drive an autocross prepped 1998 BMW M3 that is very loud and gets a whopping 16 miles per gallon. So when I saw the i3 for the first time in 2013, when it was announced, I laughed at its looks and its performance, or lack thereof. Now, four years later, I got a chance to check one out and I was honestly surprised.

The little car showed up in my auto-tech class one day. Immediately the whole class was rather intrigued by this weird looking car. Putting the love or hate looks aside the interior is a genuinely nice place to be. While the seats aren’t the most comfortable, trading comfort for light weight efficiency, they aren’t too bad. You get a whole slew of exotic materials inside the cabin, including bamboo, which makes it feel very premium while costing not to much more than a well equipped new Toyota Camry. The car costs around forty two thousand dollars (USD) new but after government rebates it will come down to the thirty thousand range (In the United States).

Now as far as performance goes it certainly won’t be replacing my M3 any time soon but it is fun in its own way. The last time I saw tires so narrow on anything it required me to pedal it. However super thin tires combined with the instant torque of the electric motors leads to a peppy and exciting little car. One that, if I had the possibility too, I would daily drive. Even the teacher of the auto-tech class, who races Porsches, enjoyed it. In my eyes this odd looking electric car is great. The only issue with it, as with any electric car, is range. It’s much more of a city car with a range of anywhere from 114 to 180 miles (183-300 km) depending on the version you get. If that range is more than what you need on a daily basis and you’re in the market for a new car then I high recommend at least taking a look at the BMW i3. Especially in Europe where current trends are seeing the combustion powered car excluded from more and more cities.

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