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BMW i3 review – the city car perfected?

evo staff
12 Feb 2018
Verdict:

The BMW i3 is a genuinely impressive take on the electric city car.

Evo Rating: 
For 
Brilliant performance, great interior, stand-out looks
Against 
Range extender engine noisy, limited range without it
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Prices, Specs and Rivals 

BMW’s i3 still qualifies for a Government grant of £4,500, which discounts the on road price to around £30k. This buys you the fully-electric entry level model, while the more powerful i3s is £3k more. Both models are also offered as hybrids, in range extender guise. This adds a further £3k to their respective prices, while the petrol-powered generator onboard these models makes them subject to a VED charge of £130 a year, whereas the all-electric i3 versions are exempt from road tax.

There are four interior trims (referred to as ‘worlds’ by BMW) to choose from, including the standard Atelier, which combines cloth seats with a silver matte finish for the dashboard. You can upgrade to the Loft trim for £1000 getting grey cloth and leather seats in the process. It’s a similar story for the Lodge world (£1500) which gets a wood dash to compliment brown, cloth and leather seats – full leather seats are available with the £2000 Suite world.

The BMW i3 comes relatively well equipped as standard: remote app control, online services and sat nav are all included, so there aren't many additional options and packages.  That said, if you’ll be driving in urban areas regularly, the £790 park assist package which consists of a reversing camera, parking sensors (front and back) and self parking is worth considering.

The choice of paint finishes and wheels is small so it should be easy to design your i3. The paint options are priced keenly at £550, about the same as the cheapest optional alloy wheel design, which we think is worth plumping for, as the standard wheels aren’t particularly easy on the eye.

Nissan’s new Leaf is now on sale, priced from around £27k, although it’s not as rewarding to drive as the i3 – we’re waiting for the Nismo version. Tesla’s Model 3 has yet to land in the UK, and while it’ll be pricier than the i3 it’ll offer more performance and range, however there’s a long waiting list. Another all-electric alternative is the Renault Zoe, it is cheaper than the i3 and offers a reasonable real world range of 186 miles with the bigger 41Kwh battery.

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