The BMW i3 is a small eco-friendly city car that is a hoot to drive and feels premium compared to rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV that, on the flipside, cost a fair bit less than the BMW.
The minimalist dashboard lends a great feeling of airiness to the cabin and the exposed carbon fibre and optional wood trim make it quite special in a class where shiny black plastic is usually the pinnacle of interior design.
Thanks to the positioning of the batteries and engines you get a completely flat floor that combines with the thin seats to make the i3 more spacious for passengers than you might have believed. The boot is tiny, though, because the i3’s clever electrical gubbins are hidden under the floor.
The regular i3 now has a bigger 94AH battery than before, increasing the range to a claimed 190 miles. There’s also a Range Extender model which uses a small 650cc petrol engine to charge the batteries giving you, theoretically, a ridiculous-sounding 470mpg.
Driving this dinky city car is great fun – limited body roll, precise steering that gives you confidence and the sure-footedness of a larger car while on the motorway are there in spades. That said, if you value ride comfort over cornering agility then it’s worth looking at rivals such as the Nissan Leaf.
The i3 costs a substantial amount of money, but you do get plenty as standard – sat-nav, 19-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, auto wipers and headlights plus DAB digital radio.
The i3 will put a smile on your face, now matter how dreary your commute might be
The styling is quite Marmite, some love it, some don’t, the price is a bit steep and the range may still put some people off – but overall, the i3 is a very compelling car.
It genuinely feels like a car from the future and it has plenty of other talents too. If you’ve got the budget and think it’d meet your needs, it’s an easy car to recommend.