- Superb interior
- Fun to drive
- Low running costs
- Only seats four
- Expensive from new
- Small boot
The most desirable electric car on the market.
The BMW i3, when it was first introduced in 2014, changed the way in which the motoring world saw electric cars. Before, it was left to brands like Nissan and Toyota to lead the way. But the i3 changed matters. It’s arguably the best electric car that’s currently on sale. With it’s futuristic looks, high-end cabin, and fun driving experience, it really does offer the best of all worlds. It’s not the most practical car, but it more than makes up for it in all other departments. If you want to help save the planet, but you don’t want to compromise on quality, the i3 should be the car that sits right at the top of your wish list.
Futuristic cabin is light years above its rivals.
One of the many areas that the i3 stands out is in its cabin. The design is a joy to behold, and you can truly feel experience the future, now. It’s not the most practical hatchback however, but the generous standard kit will please all buyers.
BMW is a brand that is known for quality interior design. But the i3 is arguably the best cabin that they’ve ever produced. Its simplicity and sleek curves make it instantly recognisable. Whilst the high grade materials make it feel like the premium product that it is. Recycled textures are used throughout the cabin, which will please eco-friendly buyers. Controls are also incredibly simple to use. Once you’ve been in an i3, it’ll make your old car feel ancient.
Practicality is one of the few areas in which the i3 disappoints somewhat. The fact that there are only four seats mean it’s not a great car to own if you have a big family. Despite this, there’s plenty of leg, and headroom. So even if you’re over six foot, you should be pretty comfy sat in the back. The 260-litre boot capacity is a little small for a car like the i3. It’s big enough for a bit of shopping, but even a Vauxhall Corsa packs in more load capacity.
As you’d expect from a car as futuristic looking as the i3, the equipment list is not only generous, it’s also super-modern. All models come as standard with goodies such as climate control, heated seats, parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers. The iDrive infotainment system is also included, with sat-nav, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity making up the package. It’s easily the best infotainment system on the market at the minute as well.
All in all, the i3’s interior is utterly exceptional. There is no car that comes close when it comes to interior design. Whilst spec levels are generous on all models. It’s not the most practical family car however, but it’s really only a minor niggle.
Great to drive around town.
When you buy a BMW, you expect to have a driving experience that will put a smile on your face. Despite the fact that the i3 is an electric car, it doesn’t disappoint. The sharp, agile steering makes it great to drive around town. It’s decent enough out of town as well. Most importantly the i3 is rear wheel drive, like all BMW’s should be. So if you want to help save the planet, but still want to have fun behind the wheel, the i3 ticks all the boxes.
Suspension and Chassis
Whilst the i3 might be great fun to drive, it is let down by the firm suspension. It’s not exactly uncomfortable, but it does jump around a bit over large bumps. For such a tall car, there’s very little in the way of body roll however, which not only helps cornering, it also stops passengers getting car sick. The optional 20” alloy wheels might look fancy, but they firm up the ride even more. So if you value comfort, stick to the standard 19” rims.
As with most electric cars, you only get one transmission option. That’s because electric cars don’t have gears. They give you all the acceleration in an instant, so there’s no need to shift up and down to find the peak rev range. It’s a strange experience at first, but once you’ve experienced it, you won’t want to go back to your old car.
Amazing performance and reasonable range.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your i3, you’ve got two options. The standard electric is the cheaper of the two, but offers less range. So if you want to travel out of town often, it’s worth considering the Range Extender model.
Petrolheads aren’t usually associated with electric cars, but they’re seriously missing out. The i3’s standard engine pumps out 170bhp, which might not sound a lot. Nor does the 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds sound especially rapid. But in an i3, you get all of the power instantly, so it feels much quicker than it actually is. The Range Extender model (which extends the range to 288 miles) is a little slower, but only marginally so.
Eco-friendly buyers will absolutely love the i3. It’s one of the greenest cars on the roads. With zero emissions in the standard model, you won’t harm the environment at all. The Range Extender model does produce 12g/km of CO2, but that’s less than a tenth of an average family hatchback. And it does produce an unbelievable 471mpg. Both models are road tax exempt, and offer free London Congestion Charge. This makes the i3 a great option for money savers. Especially when you consider how much money you’ll save on petrol or diesel.
Both i3 models are absolutely ideal for green-conscious buyers. But they’re also incredibly fun to drive. You can’t really go wrong here. But the Range Extender does offer greater flexibility out of town, which is worth considering.
Surprisingly only achieved 4-stars at NCAP.
Unlike a lot of its rivals, the BMW i3 failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. If you’re concerned, don’t be. The i3 actually scored very well in all categories, apart from pedestrian impact. The i3’s construction and safety kit more than makes up for this minor disappointment. You’ll get six airbags, stability control, and seat belt warning as standard. Whilst the i3’s advanced carbon fibre construction should keep you safe in the event of an accident.
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The BMW i3 might not be an especially cheap car to buy from new, but used models make great financial sense. It won’t cost a great deal more to buy than the less-desirable, less-fun Nissan Leaf. Not only that, but you won’t be spending any money on fuel if you go for the standard all-electric model. When you think about how much money you’ll save each year in tax, fuel, and congestion charges, the i3 starts to make a lot of sense.
Insurance groups for the i3 are the same no matter which model you go for. The i3 sits neatly in group 21, which isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s far from being extortionate. A limited run of limited edition ‘Inspired by Mr Porter’ models are a little more expensive, in group 23.
Depreciation is a factor to consider with the BMW i3, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as high as ever, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The BMW i3 is undoubtedly one of the finest electric cars currently on sale. It’s striking looks and high-end interior really give you a taste of the future of motoring. It’s not all looks either. It’s fun to drive, and cheap to run, and whilst it’s not the most practical hatchback, it more than makes up for it in almost every other area.
Buying a used BMW i3 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used BMW i3 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used BMW i3. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used BMW i3 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used BMW i3? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used i3, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used BMW i3, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used BMW to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.