BMW i3 Quick drive

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I had a change to drive BMW’s futuristic i3 as part of a
media event a few days ago.
And very much looking forward to experience the “BMW of
electric cars”.
By now, we have all seen pictures of the i3. In person, it
stands pretty tall. And the whole thing looks really futuristic. Like a car
designed for a sci fi movie. But I guess, it is 2013, and it’s about time for
some cars to look like they’ve been designed in the 21st century.

The weirdest thing I noticed was how narrow the tires 155/70
look on such large 19-inch wheels.

 Inside, it is pretty amazing. It is like no other car. Seems
like the designers were on a mission to rethink the way car interiors look and

Everything is intuitive. Things are where they supposed to
be. But everything looks different.
The 2 screens on the dash seem to be floating.

 The optional twin glass panels give the whole interior a
more open feel.

 The back seat is roomy. More so than I was expecting since
the car is really compact. (It is about 2 inches shorter than a Fiesta
hatchback). And access is really easy since there is no B pillar.

 The materials used are also treated very differently. (The
wood piece looks especially nice.) 
BMW makes a point of showing off the recycled materials throughout the
high quality interior.

The trunk is also fine. The floor is a bit high, but that is
As for the drive. It first feels like, well, most other
electric cars. Super quite with lots of torque right away. 
But I quickly found
out that you don’t need to use the break pedal to slow down. Just lifting your
foot off the right pedal slows the car down. Eventually to a full stop. So you
basically would only use the actual brake pedal to really stop the car in a
hurry. Not in normal driving.
Which is really, really weird. At first.
I quickly got used to it. And found myself driving and
stopping with one foot most of the time. So BMW has basically also re invented
the way we drive a car. And it does make a lot of sense.
The only problem I would see if for those who own another
car. Going back and forth between the i3 and anything else might feel a bit
The steering is very direct. Although it does feel a bit
artificial, and not as fluid as I thought it would be.
And the “big yet skinny” tires provide quite a firm ride. Almost
too much around town.
The i3 will start at around $41 000. $45 000 when you get
the “range extender” 500CC gas engine. It ads about 90 miles to the range. 
Which I think is the way to go. Unless you never plan to travel.
In California these prices will be reduced by around $10 000
after various incentives.

And I think an electric BMW for $30 000 is quite a deal.
Even better if they come up with super affordable lease.
I predict long waiting list…

Conversation 8 comments

  1. Slowing the car down when you take your foot off the gas pedal seems odd. I thought they strived for more roll and less resistance. Seems a bit golf cart-ish.

  2. The Tesla Model S has a very similar breaking system. I had the opportunity to drive one for an hour and the brakes took a few minutes to get used to. Very nice car too. I am in no way comparing two cars completely-just the braking system.

  3. The one-pedal-driving is present in my Opel Ampera as well (You can choose to drive with or without it).

    Whenever I borrow my wife's Fiat 500 I always forget that I have to use the brakes. In the beginning I almost crashed at every red light.

    Getting used to the switching now.

  4. Love the look inside and out. Because it won't drive like a traditional 3 series it will be panned by the auto media.

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