2015 BMW i3 – Road Test and Review

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For drivers with range anxiety, BMW offers an optional range extender, a two-cylinder gasoline engine that powers a generator and turns itself on when the battery’s charge drops below 5%. The range extender will provide an additional 75 miles (121 kilometers) according to the EPA but it is rather noisy and shatters the calm atmosphere that the i3 normally provides.

The i3’s navi and infotainment systems are the latest in BMW’s iDrive lineup and work very well. BMW’s ConnectedDrive services allow drivers to access charge information using a smartphone app and they can remotely unlock the car doors and check the vehicle’s location, among other features.

BOTTOM LINE

The BMW i3 is clearly the electric car of the future, but the future is an expensive one. It’s the most expensive car in its class and this may be a turnoff for those seeking a thrifty EV experience, but that would be a shame as the i3 fulfills its mission very well.

Still its quirky styling means it isn’t for everyone. While the BMW i3 may not break sales records, it is undoubtedly a harbinger of the smarter and more fuel efficient vehicles to come.

THE DETAILS

2015 BMW i3 with Range Extender
Base price/price-as-tested $46,250/$
Drivetrain Hybrid, synchronous motor
Engine 2.0-liter inline six
Horsepower/Torque 170 / 186
Transmission Single-speed with fixed ratio
Curb weight (lbs) 3,064
Wheelbase (inches) 101
Length x width x height (inches) 157 x 70 x 62
0-60 mph (seconds) 7.8 (7.0 without range extender)
Fuel economy (mpg) 99/99

 

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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