So, what do we know about BMW's entry into the all-electric city car arena, the i3? The BMW i3 is 100% local emission free. Zero grams of carbon are released into the atmosphere when you press the accelerator.
The interior is made of sustainably-sourced natural materials such as wool, eucalyptus, and naturally tanned leather.
The lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber frame weighs just 2,799 lbs (1,270 kg), and the optional 20" wheels fitted with Bridgestone Ecopia EP500 tires minimize rolling resistance, meaning that the i3 has efficiency at the very core of its design philosophy.
However, did you know
...that the BMW i3 is still very much a BMW?
The electric drivetrain delivers peak torque at 0 rpm, so you are getting maximum engine power instantaneously. While the i3 doesn't have the top speed of cars from BMW M, in 0-60km/h acceleration, the i3 is actually quicker than the previous generation M3. That first 60km/h makes up the great majority of city driving, so this little, eco-friendly hatchback will end up watching plenty of larger, more powerful cars in its rear-view mirror after the light turns green.
The light frame and huge wheels are not just about efficiency, of course. This car handles like the badge on the front would suggest. Like its fossil fuel powered BMW siblings, the i3 is rear wheel drive and has nearly perfect 50-50 weight distribution. The throttle is responsive and lively. The steering is quick, and overall the whole vehicle feels very nimble.
When you spend some time driving an i3, it becomes obvious that at least as much time was put into delivering a great driving experience as making it eco-friendly. A golf cart this is not. Moving away from fossil fuels toward sustainable energy sources has not caused the BMW engineers to compromise one bit on any of the things that have made the brand what it is today, and apparently, we won't have compromise on driving thrills, either. This is the truly the ultimate driving machine for our times.
There are plenty of positive things to say about the BMW i3. It achieves its stated mission of sustainability and innovation in automobile production, but to truly appreciate what makes the i3 special, or any BMW for that matter, you really have to feel it. It's an experience. Brian Jessel BMW is an authorized BMW i retailer, and we're always happy to schedule test drives.