Few cars in the Bavarian lineup are criticized as heavily as the BMW i3. It’s lack of range compared to other EVs, high price tag and sparse equipment list make it an easy target for most enthusiasts. However, as an actual car to drive in cities and around town, it’s rather excellent. Don’t just take my word for it. Take it from the former home of James May — Autocar — who gave the i3S the “City Slicker” award.
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“Short overhangs, great forward visibility and a raised driving position make placing the i3s incredibly easy.” said Autocar Editor Tom Morgan. According to road tester Ricky Lane, the BMW i3 “goes like a whippet for gaps in traffic”. Not sure what that means but it sounds good.
We tend to agree. The BMW i3, as a city car, is superb. It’s tiny, has a super short wheelbase and virtually no overhangs, has a rear-wheel drive layout with a tight turning circle and sports enough electric torque to make it feel very zippy in traffic. Shooting gaps in dense traffic is almost unfair in the i3, especially the i3S. The funky cabin is also lovely to sit it, with an excellent greenhouse and plenty of space, making sitting in traffic that much better.
Sure, it has its issues. For longer trips, the BMW i3 is less than ideal, as its relatively low range diminishes rather quickly at highway speed. It’s also not the most powerful EV on the market, so anything outside of city traffic can show how underpowered it is. Also, if you fit it with the option REx range extender, you can hear it when it kicks on and it’s not very premium sounding.
Still, as a city car, something for urban business types to get around in (*ahem* Horatiu), the BMW i3 is excellent.