BMW i3 Bottom Line: $494 Per Month With *$0 Down


There has been a lot of speculation with regards to financing rates and residual values for the BMW i3.

A few months ago we ran this story where we posted preliminary i3 residual values that were lower than the residual values of other electric cars.

BMW Financial Services evidently took a closer look and now that the official financing figures are out we see they increased the residual values by 4% across the board.

*Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on BMW Blog.  Check it out by clicking here.

Original Preliminary Residuals            Actual Residuals 

  • 24 month residual – 49%               53%        
  • 30 month residual – 44%               48%
  • 36 month residual – 39%               43%
  • 42 month residual – 34%               38%
  • 48 month residual – 28%               33%
  • 54 month residual – 25%               29%
  • 60 month residual – 21%               25%

(These figures are based on 15,000 miles per year. Add 2% for 12,000 mile/year leases, 3% for 10,000 mile/year leases. Extra mileage is charged at 20 cents per mile.)

Additionally, the online “Build your Own” BMW i3 site now features monthly payment calculations for OwnersChoice with Flex. Up until now, only the MSRP was listed. OwnersChoice with Flex is a new product created by BMW Financial Services specifically for the i3. It allows the customer to take up to $7,500 off the price of the car as a capitol cost reduction, thus allowing lower monthly payments. The customer does not have to pay the money up front and basically owes that to BMW FS. The reason $7,500 is the cap is because that is the maximum amount of the federal tax credit that the i3 qualifies for. BMW FS is basically lending the customer the money so they can have lower monthly payments.

The customer can repay the Flex capitol cost reduction anytime (like when they get the money back on their taxes) or wait until the end of the term. At the end of the specified term, the customer has the choice of returning the car and paying the amount they took as the capitol cost reduction (if they didn’t repay it already), or keeping the car and paying the residual value, plus the unpaid capitol cost reduction. It’s really a purchase, that offers the benefits of a lease and lets the customer decide whether they want to keep the car or return it at the end of the term.

BMW i3 Live in Detroit

BMW i3 Live in Detroit

So what’s the bottom line on a 36 month OwnersChoice with Flex work out to? With no money out of pocket, depending on where you live you can drive off in a base i3 BEV and your payments will be $494 per month for 36 months. That’s with taking the full $7,500.00 capitol cost reduction (which you then owe BMW FS) and with only 10,000 miles per year allowed. If you load the BEV i3 up with every available option the monthly payment raises up to $661 per month. It’s worth noting that these figures do not include sales tax. There are states where electric vehicles are sales tax exempt (like New Jersey where I live) and it appears the i3 site does not add the sales tax regardless of whether you use a zip code where sales tax is collected or not. Perhaps that will be corrected though, as they only updated the site to show the monthly payments within the past day or so.

The OwnersChoice with Flex was developed by BMW Financial Services specifically so i3 customers can realize the full $7,500 electric vehicle federal tax credit. When leasing an i3, BMW FS will only pass $4,875.00 of the $7,500 federal tax credit along to the customer. They are standing by their statement that they do not get the full $7,500 credit, and are passing along every dollar that they do get to the customer. This likely makes leasing a poor option on the i3 when compared to OwnersChoice with Flex.

Categories: BMW


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17 Comments on "BMW i3 Bottom Line: $494 Per Month With *$0 Down"

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Base model with no options. Good luck finding one.

Sounds to me like this “owners choice” is just a lease dressed-up in a different name to get the full $7.5k.

It depends. You must have a single year $7,500 federal tax liability to take advantage of the credit. If you do not, there is no carry over. So it might be applicable in all cases, but most BMW owners pay more in tax to qualify easier.

You may have exposed the real issue here. In order to get the full credit, your taxes have to exceed the credit amount.

Perhaps something similar applies to corporations. Is that the real reason BMW is only getting $4875 credit? It is strange how they never elaborate on that.

Did they do something like tap into a government grant that limits their ability to also get the $7500 incentive?

“If you like your health care, you can keep your health care, Period”
“If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor, Period”
“If you want a BMW i3, Bottom Line:$494”

All of these promises have something in common,,,,,,,,,,,,

Troll. Period.

It would be nice if you could plug in shorter month term and a few more miles per year
Say 24 months and 15,000 per year
Funny looking at the info BMW provided the miles are at 15,000 but on the calculator in the build screen it says 10,000 that should lower your cost and raise the residual

Wish we could give BMW a hint to improve the build your own calculator options.


The residual values are still too low. I remember 12 years ago the residual of my X5 after a 3-year, 36,000-mile lease was 62%. What is on the picture however indicates that this is not a lease. A $19,447 balloon value on a 3 year old car that would likely have to be refinanced at a higher APR doesn’t sound like much fun.

Too many gimmicks!

Wouldn’t you expect residual to be lower on the vehicle which had a $7500 tax credit which the owner kept?

No as one may or may not be able to claim the full amount, or may have other discounts applied to the price of the i3. However that price should reflect the intrinsic value at the beginning and at end of the lease/finance period.

Such a convoluted scheme. How come the other auto makers manage to keep it simple? It looks like BMW need to hire the Ultimate Accounting Firm.

2 Volts or 1 i3. Would like an i3 along with the Volt but that would be a Tesla.

First there was Tesla’s unique lease accounting. A “put” for an owner having the option to sell the car back. Now, BMW gives us the “call”, where the leasor gets the option to buy 😉

Hmm, here’s to the well diversified garage.

All people that lease cars can buy it when they are done at a defined price. I have done it many times

10,000 miles a year? that is not enough

being electric the car will be incredibly addicting to drive, 10,000 miles will add up in less than 12 months easily.