BMW i3 125kW 42kWh 5dr Auto Lodge Interior World

  • Automatic
  • Electric
  • 5 door hatchback
Combined range
188.9 miles
Battery capacity
42.2 kWh
Battery warranty
8 years / 100,000 miles
Fastest charging time (0-100%)
84 minutes @ 50kw

Ten Second Review

BMW i3 has proved to be a successful first stab at the all-electric vehicle market for its Munich maker and since the original 2013 launch, the Munich maker hasn't stopped trying to improve it. In 2016, the original 60Ah version was replaced with a 94Ah variant that boosted this model's all-electric operating range to over 200 miles. A year later, BMW gave the styling a minor refresh and added a slightly pokier i3s derivative into the range. Then in late 2018, the brand introduced a larger 120Ah battery that promised a driving range increase of up to 30%. The result of all these improvements is a car that's now even harder to ignore in this growing segment.

Background

If you're of the old school and BMW means shark nosed, six-cylinder, ultimate driving machines to you, the Munich company's i3 electric vehicle is going to appear a wholly alien concept. It's a squat little citycar riding on 155mm wide tyres. Yet delve a little deeper and it doesn't take long to find a strand of proper BMW DNA. It's revealed in the thinking behind the engineering and the logic that went into making the various development decisions. Wherever BMW's engineers could have developed a more focused, technically correct solution, they appear to have done so, allowing for certain cost controls of course. Of course, you might well be part of the 99% of British car buying customers that chooses an internal combustion engine over an electric motor. Your next car and maybe the next one after that will probably be powered by fossil fuels. Even if that is the case, have a look at what the BMW i3 now offers, especially in this improved 120Ah form with its long 190-mile (WLTP) all-electric operating range. It's building a case for electric vehicles that is becoming ever more convincing.

Driving Experience

As you might expect from a BMW product, the i3 doesn't want for go. The electric motor is mounted low down within the rear axle which helps to keep a low centre of gravity and also to improve crashworthiness. The power unit weighs just 130kg and produces 170bhp in standard form, which means that the i3's power to weight ration of 141bhp per tonne is just 5bhp per tonne shy of a Honda Civic Type R hot hatch. If you're interested in a comparison of that sort, you'll be interested in the slightly pokier i3s variant, where the electric motor's power output is boosted to 184bhp, plus there's sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Whatever i3 variant you choose, as with all electric vehicles, a decisive advantage comes in its amount of torque. In a typical city scoot such as, say, a 1.2-litre Fiat 500, you can count on 102Nm of torque, but this BMW generates a hefty 250Nm of muscle in its standard frm (or 270Nm in 'i3s' guise), offering instant urge with all that torque available from idle. It's sent to the rear wheels via a single-ratio gearbox that offers the choice of three driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+. The i3s has an extra 'Sport' setting. This translates to a car that's certainly not slow off the mark. The standard model will get from standstill to 37mph in 3.8sec and to 62mph in 7.3sec (or 6.9s for the i3s). Either way, any hot hatch driver would have a very hard time keeping pace with an i3. The top speed is limited to 93mph in the standard model or 99mph in the i3s. Extremely direct steering, a low centre of gravity, a clever DSC stability control system and lightweight body structures add up to very focused driving characteristics. BMW has engineered in a little body roll, largely to clue drivers in to where the limits of those narrow tyres are, but this remains a car you can enjoy hustling along.

Design and Build

Think of the i3 as a car in two halves. The bottom half is almost all aluminium, the upper half almost all carbon fibre. Armed with this information, you can rightly surmise that it doesn't weigh very much. Even with the weight of all those batteries - some 230kg comprised of 96 individual cells kept at an optimum 20deg Centigrade by their own air conditioning unit - the i3 only tips the scales at 1,195kg. Compare that to the 1,395kg of the entry-level petrol-powered Mercedes-Benz B Class and you'll appreciate the lengths BMW have gone to keep weight low and efficiency high. The styling is determinedly modern, with the kidney grille being the key BMW styling signature. The black hood, roof and glazed hatch will be characteristic features for future BMW 'I' cars. Adaptive LEDs headlights and floating LED tail lights are standard. The lowered belt line in the rear and absence of a "B" pillar improves visibility, while the rear "coach" doors make entry easier. As before, the i3 really isn't a very big car, measuring just 3,999mm long, which is only a tad longer than a Ford Fiesta. Despite that, thanks to the flat floor, the thin seats and the low window line, the cabin feels surprisingly roomy. The instrument cluster and Control Display comprise two screens, one behind the steering wheel and the other at the top of the centre console. Interior materials are eco-orientated, with the dashboard and door cards made from dried grass fibres from the kenaf plant and eucalyptus wood being optional. The boot measures 260-litres, but fold the rear seats and you get up to 1,100-litres.

Market and Model

Value. That's a really tough one to assess in the context of the i3. Prices start at just over £31,000 for the standard all-electric model once you've taken into account the generous £2,500 government-funded Plug-in car grant. That's a sum you could easily pay for a pokey diesel version of a similarly-sized premium badged model like an Audi A3 or a Mercedes A-Class. There's a £1,000 premium to pay if you want the sportier 'i3s' variant. Sadly, there's no longer the option of adding in a little 'Range Exender' petrol engine. Full-LED headlights are standard, joining heat protective green tinted glazing, auto headlamps and wipers, Park Distance Control rear parking sensors, LED tail lamps, an alarm, power-folding mirrors and of course a standard charging cable, this one 5m in length. Inside, there's air conditioning that you can, if you wish, set with a timer to pre-condition the cabin prior to your departure. Plus you get cruise control with a speed limiter, heated front seats and a multifunction leather-trimmed steering wheel. In addition, there's the 'Drive Performance Control' system that, via 'ECO PRO', 'ECO PRO+' and 'Comfort' modes, allows you to alter throttle response, steering feel and gearchange timings from the standard auto transmission, all of it better suiting the way you want to drive.

Cost of Ownership

Can an i3 really make economic sense? It's tempting to conclude that for a typical buyer covering, say, 7,500 miles a year, simply opting for a cheap citycar with a 1.0-litre engine would be a better bet. However, factor in something like the London congestion charge, which could run you over £8,000 for that period, couple it with the minimal fuel bills and likely strong residual values of the i3 and the BMW comes into its own. Put it up against conventional diesel versions of premium rivals like the Audi A1 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and they don't enjoy a massive price advantage, thus making the i3 look increasingly attractive. This car's certainly widened its market scope since BMW gave it an uprated 120Ah powertrain, which on the full-battery-powered model has facilitated an increase in all-electric WLTP driving range from the 112 mile total on offer when this car was originally launched to as much as 190.8 miles in its current standard form - quite a change. It's up to 175.2 miles in the i3s variant. Either way, think around 160 miles in realistic regular use. Recharging times vary, but are much quicker than you'd expect, despite the significantly larger battery capacity. A DC Rapid-charge system is standard and AC charging is multi-phase, meaning full charging can be completed in under 3 hours with the multi-phase system. As before, the car can also be charged at home using a standard three-pin plug or by specifying a BMW I Wallbox. Use the latter and an 80% charge can be reached in 4.9 hours. An 80% charge from a conventional household socket will take 15 hours.

Summary

We said electric cars were going to get better: here's a great example of just how. BMW's i3 was already a very good product. Now, it makes more sense than ever. As before, this model is unashamedly high-end - you only need to look at the materials it's built from to appreciate that - but as a result, it's leagues more exotic than a conventionally-powered rival with a premium badge. Indeed, its carbon fibre and aluminium construction lends it a technical sheen of cool that's quite different to the usual electric vehicle proposition, which all too often gives off the distinctive whiff of anorak. Costing around £2 to charge, with a real world range of up to around 160 miles on batteries alone, the i3 will work for many suburban commuters looking for something stylish and a bit different to the norm. One day electric vehicles will be cool rather than nerdy and if that happens, we think the i3 will be seen to be the car that started that progression.

  • ECO PRO mode to improve range
  • ECO PRO+ mode to maximise the potential range (top speed 56mph) significant gains in range through a series of onboard electronic measures
  • Standard Charging cable (Mode 2) for home socket
  • Auxiliary point for auxiliary devices
  • DAB Digital radio
  • Black finished door sills
  • Black window surrounds
  • Black with integrated LED brake light in rear spoiler
  • Body colour front and rear bumpers, doors and door handles
  • Contrast highlights in BMW i Blue - Kidney grille surrounds below doors
  • Flap in rear side panel, right with push function to open with C shaped indication band for battery condition integrated into central locking system
  • Front and rear bumper system with replaceable deformation elements
  • Kidney grille chrome high-gloss with contrast frame in BMW i Blue
  • Low A pillar panel
  • Model designation
  • Rear BMW i3 designation
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Shark fin roof aerial
  • Visible VIN plate
  • 12V power socket in centre console
  • Additional 12V power socket in right-hand side of boot
  • Additional detachable cupholder
  • Central cupholder - additional cupholder with clip on function for centre console
  • Conditioned based service
  • DC rapid charge preparation
  • Electric bootlid with chrome optic trim
  • Electronic drive selector on steering column to select drive, reverse, neutral or park
  • Foldable front centre armrest with integrated storage compartment
  • Front and rear grab handles in roof linings
  • Front and rear map pockets
  • Front and rear side armrests integrated into door trim
  • Gear selector switch on steering column with control lever in chrome pearl grey with leather inserts in black and gear visual indication
  • Illuminated charging socket in visual display
  • Luggage compartment access via recessed handle below tailgate
  • Manually adjustment steering wheel column
  • Multi phase AC fast charge preparation
  • Multi-function controls for steering wheel
  • Rear shelf cover
  • Solaric Woollen cloth/natural leather upholstery
  • Storage compartment in driver and passenger doors
  • Extended storage pack - I3
  • Lodge interior world pack - i3
  • 2 x 3-point rear seat belts
  • Airbags - Front driver/passenger, front and rear curtain head protection, front side, manual deactivation of front passenger airbag
  • BMW emergency call
  • Child locks on rear doors
  • Crash Sensor - Activates hazard warning/interior lighting, central locking release + 12V and HV battery safety cut-off
  • Electronic tyre pressure monitor
  • Seatbelt security check for driver and front passenger
  • Side impact protection
  • Twin horns
  • Warning triangle and first aid kit
  • Central locking switches for front doors, bonnet, footwell charging flap, footwell fuel filler flap and tailgate
  • Check control system for monitoring of lights and door/luggage compartment open warning
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • Remote control including integrated two key
  • Thatcham category 1 alarm system with remote control and engine immobiliser
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 42.2
  • Battery Charge Type 1 kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charge Type 1 Percentage: 0-80
  • Battery Charge Type 1 Time (Minutes): 900
  • Battery Charge Type 2 kW: 7.4
  • Battery Charge Type 2 Percentage: 0-100
  • Battery Charge Type 2 Time (Minutes): 390
  • Battery Charge Type 3 kW: 11
  • Battery Charge Type 3 Percentage: 0-100
  • Battery Charge Type 3 Time (Minutes): 258
  • Battery Charge Type 4 kW: 50
  • Battery Charge Type 4 Percentage: 0-100
  • Battery Charge Type 4 Time (Minutes): 84
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • NEDC Electricity Consumption kWh/100 km: 13.1
  • NEDC Maximum EV Range Miles: 223
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - City: 11.1
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - City - TEH: 11.5
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - City - TEL: 11.1
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb: 15.5
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEH: 15.9
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEL: 15.3
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Extra High: 21.4
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Extra High - TEH: 21.8
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Extra High - TEL: 21.1
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - High: 13.8
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - High - TEH: 14.2
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - High - TEL: 13.8
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Low: 10.7
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Low - TEH: 11.3
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Low - TEL: 10.7
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Medium: 11.3
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Medium - TEH: 11.6
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Medium - TEL: 11.3
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - City: 5.6
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - City - TEH: 5.4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - City - TEL: 5.6
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb: 4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEH: 3.9
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEL: 4.1
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Extra High: 2.9
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Extra High - TEH: 2.9
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Extra High - TEL: 2.9
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - High: 4.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - High - TEH: 4.4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - High - TEL: 4.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Low: 5.8
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Low - TEH: 5.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Low - TEL: 5.8
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Medium: 5.5
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Medium - TEH: 5.4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Medium - TEL: 5.5
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - City: 421
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - City - TEH: 405
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - City - TEL: 422
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 304
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb - TEH: 293
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb - TEL: 307
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Extra High: 223
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Extra High - TEH: 215
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Extra High - TEL: 223
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - High: 340
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - High - TEH: 328
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - High - TEL: 340
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Low: 437
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Low - TEH: 410
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Low - TEL: 438
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Medium: 412
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Medium - TEH: 401
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Medium - TEL: 412
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - City: 261.6
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - City - TEH: 251.7
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - City - TEL: 262.2
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 188.9
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb - TEH: 182.1
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb - TEL: 190.8
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Ex High - TEH: 133.6
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Ex High - TEL: 138.6
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Extra High: 138.6
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - High: 211.3
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - High - TEH: 203.8
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - High - TEL: 211.3
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Low: 271.5
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Low - TEH: 254.8
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Low - TEL: 272.2
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Medium: 256
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Medium - TEH: 249.2
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Medium - TEL: 256
  • CO: N
  • CO2 (g/km): 0
  • HC: N
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Noise Level dB(A): 68
  • NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: N
  • Camshaft: N
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1
  • Compression Ratio: N
  • Cylinder Layout: N
  • Cylinders: N
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): N
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): N
  • Engine Code: IB1P23M0
  • Engine Layout: N
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: N
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • EC Combined (mpg): N
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 0.0
  • Badge Power: 170
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: N
  • Coin Series: N
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 28E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 6
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 7.3
  • Engine Power - BHP: 170
  • Engine Power - KW: 125
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 4800
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 184
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 25.5
  • Engine Torque - NM: 250
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 4800
  • Top Speed: 93
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: N/A
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 155/70 R19
  • Tyre Size Rear: 175/60 R19
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: Turbine styling 429
  • Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY
  • Height: 1590
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4011
  • Wheelbase: 2570
  • Width: 1775
  • Width (including mirrors): 2039
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1710
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1100
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 260
  • Max. Loading Weight: 440
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1270
  • No. of Seats: 4
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 9.9