BMW i3: An Electric Soul in an Adventurous Body

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Last updated on April 10th, 2023 at 10:50 pm

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    In this post, you will read about BMW i3 – the milestone in electric vehicles in general. Enjoy a detailed review of the BMW’s i3 model EV, along with an overview of its driving experience.

    BMW i3 is considered a landmark for the all-electric BMW i family. It stands out with its contemporary design, driving quality, efficiency and environmentally friendly use.

    Before moving on to the detailed review of the vehicle, we would like to talk about the creation story of the BMW i3.

    BMW i3 in the Making

    In 2007, BMW had recognized the need to create alternatives to traditional cars and initiated the “Project i” process, focused on the development of new mobility concepts.

    The project consisted of three steps: The first stage was the introduction of the MINI E model within the BMW Group. The second stage was the completion of field tests with the Active E model. The final phase of the project was the creation of the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models, where production models were already introduced.

    When the calendars showed the year 2011, (while the mindset of electric car was still very fresh), BMW announced the “BMW i”, where it would offer models powered by electricity. Because For BMW i, the BMW i3 was a turning point. It was the first all-electric (BEV) BMW car to enter mass production as the final product of zero-emission driving and sustainability strategies that started with the BMW 1602e in 1972.

    BMW introduced the i3 with the following emphasis: Visionary concepts, inspiring design and premium understanding blended with sustainability.

    At a time when all-electric cars were still experimental for many brands, BMW was the first brand to introduce electric power to the premium segment!

    BMW i3: The Beetle of Electric Vehicles

    At first glance, the BMW i3 seems to deserve the title of “beetle (Volkswagen)” of electric vehicles.

    When you go into details, the following are the prominent features: Modern, comfortable, dynamic and environmentally friendly.

    Notable BMW i3 Design Decisions

    • The exterior design of the BMW i3 offers a modern appearance in terms of shape. Bicolor surfaces and short ridged edges keep up with the times.
    • The characteristic structure, which shows the windows as if they are a single surface, offers a panoramic view.
    • The i3, which is dominated by rounded lines and has wide glass surfaces, is the most compact BMW model we have seen after the BMW Isetta with its length of 3999 mm.
    • A black belt extending from the hood to the roof and continuing all the way to the rear of the car… A tapering glass design instead of the Hofmeister Knick (one of BMW’s signature design elements)…  Without the kidney grille, (which is again, the symbol of the brand) you may not realize at first glance that this vehicle is a BMW. 
    • The BMW i3 reveals a different and dynamic design with its doors opening to both sides. Its rear doors open in opposite directions. There is no B pillar. Closed doors assume the protective function of the B-pillar. The absence of a B-pillar reminds one of the most aesthetic sports cars in the automobile world; the BMW 8 Series with body code E31.
    • There is no door handle on this rear door. When you want to open the rear door, you first open the front door. And then you’re able to get into the rear seats. It is not difficult to get into the back seat, as the car does not have a B-pillar. However, the fact that the rear doors open in the opposite direction does create some minor problems, of course. When the person in the back seat wants to get out, the person in the front seat must first unbuckle and open the door, for example. Also, when the front and rear doors on the same side are open, you always have to close the rear door first. The front door won’t close without closing the rear door. 
    • The BMW i3 is, (in the brand’s own words), an “all-round dynamic” car. When viewed from the rear, we can say that a narrow design dominates the vehicle. It has the image of a shark’s back. Standard U-shaped LED headlights flank the closed kidney grille. It gives the car an aggressive look. Even more striking is the design detail: The taillights are positioned inside the glass panel covering the rear.
    • Light alloy wheels in a closed form. The dimensions of the wheels are a bit unusual, very thin. It looks like motorcycle tires. The reason why the wheels are thin, is related to wind resistance and friction. Car sills have a very different design too. The reason for this is also the same, to catch the friction coefficient.
    • The trunk opens manually. Since the batteries are under the trunk, there is not a very large loading volume. The trunk is not very large. It may be difficult for two people to go on vacation with a BMW i3.

    By the way, the vehicle is rear wheel drive.

    BMW i3’s Interior Design Is Where Comfort and Sustainability Meet

    Despite its small size, The BMW i3 has a very spacious interior. One of the design details that catches our attention when we open the doors is the carbon fiber architecture, which you can only see in exotic cars of the period. There is no shaft tunnel on the floor of the car. And this deficiency creates a serious space in the interior volume. We now understand better why this section is called the “life module”.

    We notice at first glance that the materials used in the cockpit and door panels are quite different from the usual BMW models. In BMW i3 renewable raw materials are used intensively. We can see the sustainable mobility vision targeted by Project i, in every detail. Some of the materials used in the interior design are recycled materials. It is also sturdy and easy to clean. And the design of the vehicle is again 95% recyclable material. With sustainable materials and details, the BMW i3 remarkably demonstrates its respect for nature.

    When you sit in the driver’s seat, there is a fully digital, rectangular display screen in front of you. And there is a large multimedia screen right next to it. A place is reserved above the center console for small items. It also has a large glove box.

    With a turning circle of less than 10 meters and a steering wheel with only 2.5 turns, it provides an agile city driving experience in the best way. 

    And then we sit in the thin-backed driver’s seat, almost as comfortable as a home seat, and press the ignition.  

    The Technology Behind BMW i3

    BMW Connected+ feature:

    BMW Connected+, is the name of the mobility assistance system that makes transportation easier. This is one of the technological developments that BMW uses in its vehicles. BMW Connected+ provides the digital bridge between smartphone and BMW i3. In this way, all mobility-related information can be viewed via BMW Connected Onboard. The system guides you to the address you will go to via the smart route planning process.

    Adaptive cruise control

    The adaptive cruise control button is located on the steering wheel, among the buttons on the left. The Adaptive Cruise Control system works to automatically adjust the speed of the vehicle and maintain the following distance from the vehicle in front.

    You can control the content with the buttons located on the right side of the steering wheel. Radio, bluetooth, apple carplay, call receiving, volume, etc.

    Driving Assistant

    Driving assistance systems are also used in the BMW i3 model. Driving assistant helps you in heavy traffic. With its automatic parking feature, it especially facilitates your urban driving experiences. 



    The electric motor of the BMW i3 (120 Ah), which comes with eDrive technology, which reveals the electric driving character of BMW, offers 170 horsepower. 250 Nm of torque is functioning. The engine’s performance value is unpredictably good. Behind the small and sympathetic appearance of the BMW i3, there is an extremely fast vehicle.

    BMW eDrive technology offers uninterrupted power from the start. And brings comfort to the maximum level with its silent driving performance. Being emission-free, it also enables a more environmentally friendly driving. 

    There is no gearbox in this car. 

    As soon as we press the power pedal, we feel the maximum torque without interruption. And this compact city car turns into a “hot hatch” in an instant.

    Even if the ground quality of the road is not very good, the low center of gravity of the batteries further increases the confidence in the car when cornering.

    With the help of rear-wheel drive, five-point independent rear suspension architecture and 50:50 weight distribution, we enjoy pure driving pleasure!

    BMW i3 driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro Plus

    You can use the BMW i3 in 3 different driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro Plus.

    In Comfort mode; you do not encounter any restrictions. With your vehicle, you can reach the desired speed and control your air conditioner and music system at the same time.

    Eco Pro mode guides you for a more economical driving and allows you to cover more range. In this mode, you can accelerate to a maximum speed of 130 km / h.

    EcoPro Plus mode guides you for the most economical driving. Even the air conditioner almost doesn’t seem to work in this mode.

    As we all know, speed and sportiness are among the issues that BMW attaches importance to. The brand manages to attract attention in this respect in the i3 model as well. The BMW i3 reaches 0 to 100 in 7.3 seconds. BMW i3s, the sporty brother of the BMW i3, can reach the same speed in 6.9 seconds.

    In addition, the moment you take your foot off the gas pedal, it regains kinetic energy and brakes the vehicle. This offers you the driving dynamics, called by the manufacturer as “one-pedal feeling”.

    Summing up, the handling is smooth and beyond what words can describe.

    High Range Capability

    With its battery consisting of eight modules, each with twelve lithium-ion storage cells, the BMW i3 (120 Ah) provides drivers with a 30% increase in range compared to its predecessor.

    The brand emphasizes that it brings dynamics to the i3 with its technological combination of qualified driving characteristics and lightweight components. In this way, he says that the vehicle has an emission-free driving feature of up to 300 kilometers.

    Based on the driving experiences so far, we can say that the vehicle offers a range performance of 260-270 km in daily use.

    With the optional Range Extender, which comes into play when the battery’s charge level is low, the range can be increased to approximately 330 kilometers. 


    The BMW i3 has very competitive efficiency, especially when it comes to batteries and software. So much so that many other brands use the battery and software of this model.

    For example, there is a Turkish commercial vehicles manufacturer, called Karsan. It sells electric minibuses abroad. Karsan brings the battery and software it uses in its vehicles from i3.

    In other words; Not only the i3, but also many other vehicles use the technology of the BMW i3.

    BMW i3’s Smart and Easy Charging

    BMW gives the i3 model a battery warranty of 8 years and a maximum of 160,000 kilometers. Thanks to its modular design, the vehicle allows easy repair or battery replacement at authorized services.

    The BMW i3, which is very easy to charge and can be charged simply, also has a smart charging option.

    You can charge it at home. You need to charge it for about 15 hours to reach 80 percent charge rate using a household socket.

    Via DC fast charging station it can reach 80% occupancy level in approximately 40 minutes. The vehicle facilitates urban use with its short charging time.

    With the charging process made at the AC (Normal charging) station, it can reach 80% fullness in about 3 hours.

    According to the warning of the brand; The BMW i3 should not be charged with cables longer than 30 meters.

    The battery module is also produced with the principle of sustainability. It can be reused for purposes such as solar energy storage. 

    Aerodynamic Measures and Environmentally Friendly Production Model 

    The entire car design is developed from the ground up for electric mobility. Aerodynamic measures reduce air resistance and energy consumption, while sustainable and recycled materials protect the environment and replace useless materials such as plastic. 

    The highly sustainable carbon fiber used for the BMW i3 is produced entirely with hydroelectric power. The BMW factory in Leipzig, where the production takes place, is entirely powered by wind energy.

    Changes in BMW i3 Over Time

    BMW introduced the i3 as an all-new electric car for 2014. Here are its key changes over the last few years:

    2017: Larger 90Ah battery made available

    2018: i3s introduced;

           Apple CarPlay made available

           90Ah battery became standard

    2019: Larger battery capacity

           153-mile all-electric range (up from 114)

           Apple CarPlay added to standard features list

    2020: no major changes

    2021: no major changes

    Price Scale for BMW i3 

    The base BMW i3 has a starting list price of $44,450, which is decent for a luxury electric car.

    BMW i3s has a retail price of $47,650. In addition to the standard features of the i3, the vehicle has a sport-tuned suspension and a more powerful electric motor.   

    BMW i3 with Range Extender has a starting price of $48,300. The BMW i3 REX is nearly identical to the i3. The only difference is that it’s a plug-in hybrid with a two-cylinder gas engine that primarily serves range-related concerns.

    BMW i3s REX has a starting price of $51,500. The i3 REX’s gas-powered engine and the i3s’ more powerful electric motor combine in the BMW i3s REX.

    (Data taken from with date August 2022)

    All in all, during its 9 years in production, the BMW i3 met with more than 220,000 users worldwide. It has become an icon with its pioneering position in both electric cars and the premium segment. 

    It looks like the BMW i3 will always remain unique and pioneer in the electrification journey of both BMW and the automotive industry.

    BMW i3 with Outstanding Technical Features

    BMW eDrive energy consumption (kWh/100 km) 13.1 
    CO2 emission (g/km) Energy efficiency (with Range Extender: CO2 efficiency) 0.0 A+ 
    Range and Charge Time 
    Range with electric motor (km) 300 
    Range with electric motor (average user value) (km) 200 
    Lithium-ion battery capacity (kWh) 27.2 
    Fast charging, eg, in DC fast charging station: DC; 125 A; 50 kW (%80)Less than 45 minutes 
    Charging time of high voltage battery (%80) (hour) 7.5 
    Unladen weight (kg) EC 1320 
    Permissible total weight (kg) 1670 
    Car’s load capacity (kg) 425 
    Permissible front/rear axle load (kg) 750/955 
    BMW eDrive 
    Electric motor power (kW) 125.0 
    Electric motor max. torque  (Nm) 250.0 
    Maximum speed with electric motor (km/sa) 150.0 
    0-100 km/h acceleration 7.3 
    Front wheel 155/70 R19 84 Q 
    Rear wheel 155/70 R19 84 Q 
    Front rim 5J x 19″ 
    Rear rim 5J x 19″ 

    Frequently Asked Questions about BMW i3

    BMW i3 or Tesla Model 3?

    The Tesla Model 3 is one of the best, in the luxury electric car class. And of course has advantages over BMW i3 in some ways.

    – Standards range of Tesla Model 3 exceeds BMW i3’s range.
    – In addition, the Model 3 performs better in terms of handling.
    – It also has more available driver assistance systems.

    What Is the Driving Range of the BMW i3?

    Based on the driving experiences so far, we can say that the vehicle offers a range performance of 260-270 km in daily use. With the optional Range Extender (which comes into play when the battery’s charge level is low), the range can be increased to approximately 330 kilometers.

    How Do You Charge the BMW i3?

    In the BMW i3, there is a 7.4-kW charging module and a portable charging cord as standard. DC Fast Charging is standard too, which is rare among electric vehicles. A 240-volt charger is available.
    You can charge the vehicle using a household socket, DC Fast charging station or AC Normal charging station.

    How Long Does It Take to Charge the BMW i3?

    Using a household socket, you need to charge it for about 15 hours to reach 80 percent fullness.
    DC Fast Charging regenerates around 80% of the battery in 40 minutes. With the charging process made at the AC (Normal charging) station, it can reach 80% fullness in about 3 hours.

    How Long Will the BMW i3 EV’s Battery Last?

    It’s difficult to estimate for sure, but BMW covers the battery with an eight-year/160,000-km warranty.

    How Fast Is the BMW i3 EV?

    BMW claims a 0-to-100km time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 150 km for BMW i3.
    BMW i3s makes that run in 6.8 seconds
    Models with the REX, make around 8 seconds.

    Is the BMW i3 EV Available with All-Wheel Drive?

    No. BMW i3 is rear-wheel drive only.

    Which BMW i3 Model Is Right for Me?

    If you are planning to buy a BMW i3 EV, you should first compare all the models you have in line with your budget. Evaluate key criteria such as design, consumption, efficiency, performance when comparing. Take into account whether you will use it mostly in the city or outside the city. And of course your own personal taste…

    After the comparison, you can decide more easily which vehicle is the right one for you.

    How Much Does It Cost to Insure a BMW i3?

    There are many factors that affect the cost of insuring a BMW i3. Your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. In addition, your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates.

    Eagle’s Garage Quick Take on BMW i3

    BMW i3 manages to make a difference with its superior qualities. Its revolutionary stance both in terms of brand and also electric vehicles in general, draws attention.With all its advantages and disadvantages, the BMW i3 manages to be a remarkable EV. 

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