2017 BMW i3 94Ah REx Test Drive Review


While the BMW i3 REx (with a 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine serving as back-up generator) has been the primary choice in UK from the start, the introduction of a longer-range 33.2 kWh (94 Ah li-ion cells) battery version means the advantage of the extended range option on the BMW should decrease (a fact we have already started to see show in the sales splits in Europe for October), as more consumers will feel comfortable within the all-electric car’s new range of 114 miles (183 km) EPA.

BMW i3 (94 Ah) REx

BMW i3 (94 Ah) REx

However, the new 2017 i3 REx has also received the same 33.2 kWh battery bump, which provides 97 all-electric miles of driving with 83 miles of petrol driving, combining together for a total range of 180 miles.

Recently, the 2017 BMW i3 REx model was reviewed by Autocar, which feels that there are still yet more practical choices when it comes to utility, like the Volkswagen e-Golf and Nissan LEAF with more rear space and larger trunk.

However, the i3’s premium interior handily beats the more mainstream models when it comes to luxury, infotainment and just general driving equipment.

The problem whether or not to choose i3 or i3 REx mostly comes down to the higher price (£3000), and the higher BIK tax band, as well as slightly lower fuel economy.

On the driving experience:

  • strong performances at motorway speeds
  • eager acceleration
  • Comfort mode brings best feel
  • quiet operation, REx doesn’t disturb the calm
  • ride and handling could be better
  • great low-speed agility in town
  • adults will not stand in the rear seats too long and only 260 litres trunk

Check out the full walk-through review at Autocar

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6 Comments on "2017 BMW i3 94Ah REx Test Drive Review"

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0-60 is 8.1 sec? That’s hard to believe when old i3Rex was 7.1 sec. Is 8.1 just marketing number under estimating the performance (ie, when the battery is down to 10%)?

Autocar reports 0-100 kph (62 mph), not 0-60 mph as 8.1 sec. BMW’s U.S. Website reports 0-60 mph as 8.0 sec. which is in line with Autocrat. Still, as you say, that seems suspiciously slow compared with pre-2017 models. I don’t think the ~4% weight increase is the explanation. Maybe BMW reduced torque at launch to protect its fragile motor mount bolts.

Something is odd about the EPA range ratings as well. For the 2017 BEV, the percentage increase in range over previous models is considerably less than the percentage increase in usable battery energy despite the percentage increased weight being minimal. Real-world driving range percentage increase is in line with the usable battery energy percentage increase.

We’ll have to wait for independent performance tests for definitive figures.

Odd that the 2017 i3 REX is not available with the 22kWh battery while the BEV has that option.
With the range extender being so expensive at £3000, the less expensive battery pack would offer better value in the REX. The BEV needs the longer range more. I guess BMW new car buyers are prosperous and are prepared to pay for lots of expensive options.

Why would adults want to stand in the rear seats?

The i3 REx is a neat combination.

Still no word on CarPlay or google audio connectivity? This is – believe it or not – a show stopper for me.

(And Teslas in car audio offering is a shocker)