I recently spoke with you about my autocross experience with the BMW i3S. It was during BMW’s recent Test Fest, where we were able to sample many new BMWs. Obviously, we weren’t the only publication there, so there were other journalists who had the opportunity to take the i3S on the little autocross track as well. I thought it was a blast, as the i3’s short wheelbase, instant electric torque and fun-to-drive rear-wheel drive chassis all combined to make the i3S a surprisingly good little autocross car. Turns out, I’m not the only one, as Road & Track’s Brian Silvestro also had fun.
In a recent article, Silvestro talks about his time autocrossing the BMW i3S and talks about it more fondly than one might imagine. Outside of BMW enthusiasts, there isn’t a lot of love for the i3. So it’s good to see someone else that had fun in the i3S.
When talking about the BMW i3S’ rear-wheel drive advantage, compared to every other EV in the segment, he said “Rear-wheel drive is a trait present in every great driver’s car, and makes the i3 feel well-balanced and easy to place—perfect for getting within an inch of a cone.” The i3S is also helped by its battery placement, which is flat underneath the floor. “This means all the weight is as close to the bottom and center of gravity as possible, making it incredibly balanced. The wider track and a lowered suspension help too.”
The BMW i3S isn’t perfect on the autocross course, as its regenerative braking is too strong and that can screw you up as you’re approaching a corner. You have to treat the first bit of lift-off throttle as braking, as its regenerative braking is so strong that the moment you lift, it’s already slowing down quite a bit. That can cost you precious tenths in a race. Also, its tires are far too eco-friendly to be grippy on track. That’s to be expected out of an EV but the i3s might be better served by more aggressive tires.
Overall, it seemed like Silvestro liked the i3, though. Claiming “It was a joy to toss the i3 around, tires squealing and all. I even managed to set the fastest time of the event by a few tenths. If you have an i3, consider taking it autocrossing. You probably won’t be taking any class wins, but you’ll certainly have a smile on your face.” See, we’re not the only ones. It really is fun.[Source: Road & Track]