BMW’s first electric car – the i3 – was named the New Zealand Car of the Year (NZ COTY) for 2015. Selling for 83,500 New Zealand dollars, the i3 was chosen as the top contender from a shortlist of 10 vehicles.

The other vehicles under consideration included the Audi Q7, Ford Mondeo, Hyundai Tucson, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Subaru Outback/Legacy, Volvo XC90 and no fewer than three Mazdas: the Mazda2 supermini, CX-3 crossover and MX-5 sports car.


There are no categories and no specific price or segment criteria for the winning car. The shortlist is simply comprised of what the COTY Committee agrees are the 10 most worthy cars launched during the year, with the winning car chosen by a ranking system.

BMW’s i3 is a revolutionary car that at its genesis was designed to be the most efficient electrically driven car on the market. The singular focus led BMW to introduce the first mass produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic and focus the i3’s mission as a city car. BMW has been so successful in its mission that the i3 is the most efficient all-electric car on the market and it won several awards since its launch two years ago.

BMW makes two variants of the i3 and the two cars look nearly identical from the outside and takes a trained eye to spot the differences. Just as the total ranges of the two models vary, the technical differences of the REx and the i3 BEV are rather dramatic. The i3 BEV can about 80 miles on a single charge, where as the i3 REx can travel about 150 miles on a full charge and full tank of premium gas.

In the U.S., BMW sold 9,602 i3 models in 2015, not counting December.

Here’s the full list of “best in class” winners:

  • Small car: Mazda2
  • Compact car: BMW i3
  • Medium/large car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Luxury car: Hyundai Genesis
  • Small SUV/Crossover: Mazda CX-3
  • Medium SUV: Hyundai Tucson
  • Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Luxury SUV: Volvo XC90
  • Utility: Ford Ranger
  • Sports Performance: Mercedes AMG C 63

[Source: Stuff]