The BMW i3 has always been one of our favourite EVs because of its pace, low running costs and futuristic styling – and now BMW has upgraded the batteries from 60Ah to 94Ah, giving the car extra range and faster charging. Faster charging is now standard on all versions, too.
The electric car has a range of 195 miles, which is significantly more than 100 miles the previous model claimed.
For those wanting to travel even further, the Range Extender version remains. This has a small petrol engine in the back that charges the batteries as you go, and offers a range of 276 miles. It’s more efficient than before as well, emitting just 12g/km of C02 rather than 13g/km. Crucially, though, it can be filled up at a petrol station in minutes.
You can now get the car in the vibrant blue paint that was originally seen on the i8 sports car, and there are new interior trims.
The i3 looks great, especially in this new finish, and the interior quality is excellent. The recycled materials in the cabin feel well placed, and the large display screen is easy to use via the iDrive control dial on the centre console.
Driving the i3 is like almost nothing else, thanks to the exceptionally torquey powertrain and lightweight carbon fibre body. Put your foot down and you’ll hit 30mph sooner than most other cars on the road, and unlike its closest rival – the Nissan Leaf-the i3 doesn’t feel underpowered when you leave the confines of the city.
It’s fun to drive on a twisty road, too, with decent steering feedback and surprisingly little body roll for such a tall, narrow car.
For that you can thank the low centre of gravity, which is due to the battery pack being mounted under the floor. This is no sports car, but it’s good fun in its own way.
In town, the silent motor means it feels relaxed, although the ride does disrupt the calm by sending shudders into the cabin over potholes and undulations. It’s much smoother-riding at higher speeds, though.
The driving position is perfectly comfortable, and there’s enough legroom in the back for adults. Boot space of 260 litres (1,100 litres with the rear seats down) is good for an electric car, too.
The BMW i3 remains one of the more spacious EVs, both in terms of boot space and cabin room. Large glass area makes it feel light and airy, too.
You can top up the car’s batteries quicker than before thanks to standard DC charging. Range has almost doubled, too.
A boost in range can only be a good thing for the BMW i3, because the car remains just as good to drive as ever. There is a £2,150 price hike for the larger battery, but given that the range has almost doubled to 195 miles it seems fair. However, at £27,830, the all-electric i3 is still rather expensive to buy compared with rivals such as the Nissan Leaf or Renault ZOE.
BMW i3 94Ah
Price: £27,830 (inc. grant)
Engine: 33kWh electric motor
Transmission: Single-speed,rear-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Top speed: 93mph
Range: 195 miles
ON SALE: Now
NEED TO KNOW
The Range Extender model uses a 37bhp motorcycle to charge its batteries on the move