2013 BMW i3 prototype driven – WHATCAR

BMW i | July 10th, 2013 by 3
bmw-i3-test-drive

Interested to find out how the BMW i3 handles itself on the road? The UK folks at WHATCAR went to Munich to test drive and …

Interested to find out how the BMW i3 handles itself on the road? The UK folks at WHATCAR went to Munich to test drive and review inside out the new BMW i3.

BMW’s electric city car will go on sale early next year and is rumored to cost between $35,000 and $40,000.

But what’s the BMW i3 like to drive? Let’s have a look.

2013 BMW i3 prototype driven   WHATCAR

Our brief drive at a BMW test facility focused on agility and handling, but we had enough time in the car to note that the i3′s electric powertrain feels quiet and smooth – with less whine, on this evidence, than rivals such as the Nissan Leaf.

Power delivery is instantaneous, as you’d expect – all of the 184lb ft of torque is available from rest, after all – and in the most performance-oriented of the car’s modes, Comfort, you can easily squirt up to 40 or 50mph in refined haste.

It seems odd to say this, but the i3′s agility at speed is likely to surprise you. It’s a tall-looking car, after all, but its centre of gravity is extremely low thanks to the battery cells mounted in the base of the chassis. That means it has excellent change of direction at speed, and it also feels very secure under braking. Brake-energy recuperation alone can do the braking if you think far enough ahead in many situations, in fact.

Perhaps more relevant is a deeply impressive turning circle. The i3 feels astonishingly capable in tight spaces and, at 9.86m, its turning radius is almost a full metre less than a Mini Cooper’s. The steering is also pretty quick, at 2.5 turns lock to lock, so it should have excellent manoeuvrability around narrow city streets.

We had precious little opportunity to seek out rough surfaces to test the suspension set-up, but on some patchy ground at low speeds the i3 felt just about supple enough for town use. Even after this short run, though, we’d advise against opting for the 20in wheels over the standard 19-inchers.

Full review at WHATCAR

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