Australian magazine Drive gets behind the wheel of the upcoming BMW i3 and share their review with us. The first BMW electric vehicle to emerge under the “i” sub-brand will be officially unveiled on July 29th.
Stay tuned for an exclusive BMWBLOG review, but in the mean time, let’s have a look at the review by Drive:
“Pressing the start button (instead of turning a key) and then nudging the gear lever forward (rather than drawing a lever backwards) with the palm of your hand selecting D in one movement feels very intuitive – and distinctly new world. There is a faint whine from the electric motor as we get underway but apart from the distant sound of the tyres rolling across the bitumen the cabin is pleasantly hushed. In the first kilometre or two, it is the directness of the steering, a variable ratio system tuned at a nominal 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, that gets our attention. The electro-hydraulic system, closely related to the set-up to be adopted on the new Mini hatchback due to make its world premiere at the Los Angeles motor show later this year, is terrifically weighted for a car conceived primarily for urban driving, and unlike some systems it is also keen to self centre. The fact that the front wheels are not asked to channel any power clearly helps.
Thanks to its relatively low weight, the i3 offers instantaneous acceleration and entertaining pace up to and beyond typical city speed limits. The official performance claims appear entirely conventional for a car of this size, but the reality of the whole 250Nm being delivered to the rear wheels the very moment you brush the throttle relates to genuinely urgent properties – the sort you just don’t get with a traditional petrol or diesel powered car.
The default driving mode is “Comfort”, which is designed to provide maximum performance up to 150km/h. The rate of energy recuperation, and with it the braking effect on a trailing throttle, depends on the mode you choose. Backing away from the throttle in ECO-PRO+, the most efficient of the three driving modes, provides quite aggressive levels of retardation as the electric motor is used as a generator to collect kinetic energy on the overrun; so much so that you rarely need more than a fleeting dab of the brakes.”