The BMW i3 is BMW's first modern electric car. Powering all models is a 170 hp electric motor connected to the rear wheels via a single speed transmission. While no one will ever confuse the i3 with a sports car, 170 hp is enough to give the i3 brisk acceleration, especially when its 184 foot pounds of torque are accounted for. BMW claims 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Rear wheel drive prevents all that torque from causing unwanted torque steer, while also ensuring that the i3 lives up to BMW's high standards for vehicle dynamics and handling. The i3 may be a departure from the BMW norm, but it is still a BMW and drives accordingly.
BMW claims that the i3 has a range of about 80-100 miles in normal everyday driving, which should be plenty for most people's daily commute. The car's charging times are remarkably short--BMW claims a scant 30 minutes are needed to charge the car up to 80 percent capacity through a modern fast-charging system. Even at home, on a conventional 220v charger, the i3 should only take about three hours to get from empty to a full charge. For those who desire a bit more range, BMW offers a range extender, a small 2-cylinder gasoline engine that functions as a generator. With the range extender equipped, the i3 has a range of about 180 miles.
The cabin as accessed through a combination of traditional front doors and rear-hinged rear doors. Inside, the i3 uses a wide ranging set of materials available in one of several different color combinations with trim packages named things like "Loft" "Lodge" and "Suite." All of it looks relatively expensive and many of the materials are renewable, made from hemp, kinaff and other unconventional plant fibers. Of course there are plenty of more traditional materials available as well, should that be the driver's preference.
Standard equipment on the i3 is plentiful, with notable items including BMW's iDrive system, an integrated SIM card, Bluetooth and USB connectivity as well as rear mounted parking sensors and a stationary climate control system. Options include a navigation system that is smart enough to interact with the car and suggest alternate routes based on battery charge, adaptive LED headlights, a glass roof, automatic climate control, heated seats, a rearview camera and several driver assistance functions.