The BMW i3 first appeared in 2013. Along with the i8 quasi-supercar, it represented BMW’s new and forward-thinking range of alternative-fuel vehicles. With the latter bowing out from the market the i3 is now the sole representative of the “i” range of cars — that is until the forthcoming BMW iX3 reaches Australia’s shores.
A revolutionary concept, the BMW i3 is a radical departure from the mostly-sensible BMW line-up. The i3 has a vastly different interior layout than anything else on the market. The cabin feels more lounge-like than car-like and sees the extensive use of green materials such as wood trim from sustainable forests and vegan leather.
The i3’s Range Extender variant is no longer offered in Australia, leaving customers with the choice of two BEV variants: the conventional i3 and the sportier i3s. The i3 on sale today features a much larger battery pack than what was found on the original car that launched in 2013, while the i3s brings a more engaging and sports-oriented take on the EV-hatch genre.
The i3s features a 42kWh battery with a claimed range of 260kms. This translates into 230kms of real range, and may seem subpar for a hatchback that costs $77,400 (drive away). As such, it faces stiff competition from the likes of the Tesla Model 3, which claims double the range at roughly $5,000 less.
However, with BMW reportedly opting not to replace this generation of i3 — instead, focusing on electrification of existing models — the i3s could be a never-repeated quirky and fun alternative to the norm.
With a unique, go-kart-like driving experience, forward-thinking interior, exceptional all-round visibility and city-friendly dimensions, there’s little else that it can be directly compared to. And, with BMW’s trusted warranty scheme offered, you have peace of mind for three years/unlimited miles for the car, and eight years/160,000kms for the battery.