BMW i3 Bumper Modification: Out With The Two Tone

JAN 26 2016 BY WARREN M 31

Factory White Bumper Panel

Factory White Bumper Panel

I have always found the looks of the i3 to be a somewhat mixed bag of love and hate for me.

I love the looks from the side with the 20″ wheels. I like the front end.

Thumbs Up For Fluid Black Image On The BMW i3 "Shadow Sport" (only 50 made)

Thumbs Up For Fluid Black Image On The BMW i3 “Shadow Sport” (only 50 made)

But I hate the multi-colored rear bumper, and toaster side rear quarter panels. I was so embarrassed by the rear end of the i3 (highlighted by those motorcycle size tires), that I usually backed it in when parking on my driveway.

In my opinion, the new fluid black color choice makes the rear of the i3 look much more uniform and aggressive.

Well, since I have the Capparis White i3, I started to Photo Shop the rear bumper all black, and liked it better than the factory two tone bumper treatment. I was surprised you could purchase the rear bumper cover insert panel for only about $80. So I ordered it, had it painted, and installed it last night. It was relatively easy to install. I just removed the lower middle valance panel, and was able to release all the panel tabs with my fingers.

Removing the factory white panel. New black panel ready for installation. (background)

Removing the factory white panel. New black panel ready for installation. (background)

This is what the bumper looks like with the white panel removed.

BMW i3 Without Bumper

BMW i3 Without Bumper

The Finished Result

BMW i3 With New Bumper Panel

BMW i3 With New Bumper Panel

Medium tint and small rocker decal to highlight the blue strip.

Medium tint and small rocker decal to highlight the blue strip.

BMW i3 Bumper Mod Complete

BMW i3 Bumper Mod Complete

Overall, I am very pleased with the results. I am also experimenting with a few decals here and there, just to let others know the car is electric, as I “educate” them on how not all electric cars are slow golf carts!  I like to do subtle mods, which a casual bystander might not even realize is a departure from factory stock.

 

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31 Comments on "BMW i3 Bumper Modification: Out With The Two Tone"

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Speculawyer

Looks better without the two tone to me.

I was almost going to change the whole bumper to white. But that would involve much more labor and cost. Especially considering the PDC sensors require special paint. On the other hand I was surprised how cheap and easy this bumper panel was to replace. So a great value if you want to perform this mod.

Sting777

Noooooooooooo.
It’s supposed to be ugly.
This is Gen 1, They don’t want it to sell.

Anon

It looks better.

offib

DAAMN1! That’s how it should be done!

Did you buy an entire new panel, or just wrap the original? I would venture to say it would probably be as expensive to wrap that one panel than just buy and paint an extra one.

Tom Moloughney

I wrapped the whole car red and that one back panel black.

Ah, saw your picture. Looks much better in black. I believe red, or Solar Orange are the two worst colors to have in that insert area instead of black.

James
When I see a white one on the road, I can’t help but think about Star Wars Storm Troopers! It looks like their mask to me… The mod of the article doesn’t fix that much for me – as you now have a roof, hood and back end that is black with white slab sides. I guess it looks a smidge better than the two-tone factory spec, but gee – is it worth THAT much money to do it? The i3 is a spendy “piece of kit” as our friends the Brits say. An article yesterday showed what it takes to lower the suspension of an i3. What expense to gain a stiff, painful ride – and that new problem of not “Tesla-ing” road debris right through the bottom of the car! I know we are all susceptible to throwing our money away frivolously sometimes. I put tons of paychecks into customizing a 1969 Beetle once. I lowered it – put Porsche spindles on it + Porsche wheels and a jazzed-up air-cooled gerbil engine too! I thought it was the “bees knees”. I was 20 years old. I learned you can’t really make a Beetle into a poor man’s Porsche…… Read more »
John MB

Not true James..what I’m hanging my hat on is very simple BMW made the car available..given the choice of Tesla, Leaf, or i3..the i3 won hands down! Those were my BEV choices here in Phoenix..period.

I don’t drive around race tracks, and I just wanted a BEV with that felt comfortable to drive and didn’t cost me a fortune..very simple..the i3 won hands down and the three day test drive proved sold me on that..no other BEV maker was willing to offer a real test drive.

My only disappointment is that BMW seems to have dropped the ball..I know they have to deal with all those dealerships that hate BEVs. So they are now jerking around with fool cells and hybrids, and still pushing dirty ICE performance cars.

My second BEV will be an affordable vehicle that comes from a dedicated BEV maker..and only Tesla fits that bill right now.

Stimpy

I think you’re the first person I’ve seen that cares about 100% CF vs CFRP.

My opinion is who cares? If it makes the car 1,000 lbs lighter while retaining the same strength or more, I don’t care what the material is.

Nix

BMW definitely should do an all-red Tom Moloughney Special Edition. Sort of like the way they did the “Shadow Sport” special edition. Looks nice.

Tom Moloughney

Thanks. Believe it or not, I did ask them to add “Moloughney Red” as an option, but only got a smile and a “No Tom, that’s not happening”. I think it would sell well 🙂

James
Tom, I like yours because it stands out. It’s nice to have a color nobody else has. The only colors I can take on an i3 are charcoal grey and black. The stock color scheme makes me yak! It’s quirky, funky and a bit overdone as it is – then they go for the two-tone treatment, and it’s robo-car, all the way. No matter how we slice it – BMW is going to have to come up with some serious range increases even as a stop-gap until perhaps a gen2 i3 is introduced. I just don’t see how they will sell if Bolts and M3s are cruising around with twice or even 60% more range for thousands of dollars less. Peder’s door article yesterday was fantastic. What a cool read! The butterfly doors on i8 make sense on a sports car – especially since the doors are CFRP. The video kdawg shared of the robust gentleman trying to extricate himself from the BMW had me ON THE FLOOR! 🙂 I could see myself purchasing a used i8 as an investment and a sheer wow-factor car. Not that it’s practical in any way – but it’s a technological tour-de-force in many… Read more »
techguy

How easy is to prise away the panel from the body by hand? Any chance of a vid??

You can see the retainer tabs in the picture with the white panel being separated from the bumper. The panel has them all along the perimeter. I just pushed them up away from the barb, and worked my way around, pushing the panel out as I worked my way around. It is pretty simple, because the panel is fairly flexible. Only the bottom corners are tough to reach and push with your fingers, but I eventually got them to release. The bottom ones seem to be unreachable, but the bumper is flexible, so you can just squeeze your hand in there.

Now I only wish BMW would have put some slightly more well defined wheel arches on the rear quarter panels, so it wouldn’t look so skinny, pinched off,and flat sided.

I forgot, the first thing you do is remove the lower center valence panel bolts, and the one behind the license plate. With the lower center panel removed, you can easily stick your hand in there to release the tabs. Start with the closest ones so you can practice releasing them. Installing the new one is easy as the tabs just snap into place.

Brian

So James, tell us how you really feel about the i3

Warren M
Unfortunately he feels others don’t know what he tries to preach. The fact is, he is the one that needs to be educated about the actual facts. Perhaps I can help out. For some reason, this poorly designed i3 keeps winning so many automotive awards when judged by “professional automotive journalists.” So just as a refresher here are just some of the awards: 1. Consumer reports just did a real word test result of efficient cars. The i3 was leaps and bounds above everything else on the list. For those interested in conservation, scoring 2x the efficiency as the Tesla in the city rating is no small feat. 2. From Inside EVs: http://insideevs.com/bmw-i3-trophy-case-packed-full/ In its first year-plus one the international market, the BMW i3 packed its trophy case full. Here are just some of the more notable awards that the i3 grabbed: •BMW i3 – Green Car of the Year Award 2015 •BMW i3 – Green Steering Wheel 2013 award from Auto Bild •BMW i3 – best car in its class in auto motor und sport’s Best Cars 2014 awards •BMW i3 – Two readers’ awards from Auto Zeitung magazine, plus the Auto Trophy 2013 and the Green Mobility Trophy… Read more »
Brian

James, after much careful review of your EV spewing hate, you have won an award of your very own. It the “your a jerk and loser” award. In order for most of us to value your opinion, we would have to respect you.

Forever green

Brian, James is just giving his opinion. There is no reason to get so offended. I happen to agree with most of what he said, however the BMW i3 was designed with efficiency in mind. To race against the Suzuki Swift you would have to recode the computer. For instance, if the BMW i3 senses a tire spin it will cut back power. A race car it is not. In spite of all the things that James mentioned, I still like the BMW i3 Rex. The only reason why I have not bought one as of yet is because I will not sacrifice my warranty to make the car functional in range extended mode. I am waiting for the 2017 BMW i3 Rex with “hold mode” and more all electric range.

sven

That’s not EV spewing hate; it’s valid criticism of the i3’s design, performance, value, and marketing. There’s things I love about the i3 like its high efficiency, rear wheel drive, innovative crash safety features, and rust resistance; and there’s things I absolutely hate about the i3 like its suicide doors, non-sealed frunk, two-toned color schemes, and too small gas tank. Even if all new cars sold were EVs, there would still be criticism (hate) for the design and engineering choices made by automakers on certain model of EVs.

For what it’s worth, I really like my 1st gen Volt, but I really hate lack of headroom in the backseat. It’s turned out to be a bigger hassle then I thought it would be. The lack of headroom in the 2nd gen Volt would preclude me from considering purchasing it, even though I believe it is a significant improvement over the 1st gen Volt.

Albert

These are the preocupations and problems of first world people , how the colour of my rear bumper lacks “style”.

Its really not a big deal. James says he can’t believe how I spent “THAT” much money? People spend $80 on getting their car detailed! Or filling a gas tank used to cost that much. Boy, if this is so much time and investment to do this, I guess anything people do to enhance theirs cars, such as getting a detail is a waste of time and money?

Ali S

I agree Warren.

Doug B

Stormtrooper…

Look at this glowing review Autos.ca did last month. They absolutely love the storm trooper looks of the i3. They actually compare it to a Type 15 Shuttle Pod.

http://www.autos.ca/car-test-drives/quick-spin-2015-bmw-i3-rex/

Phr3d

sounds like a couple more readers might be interested in that ignore button..

scroll, scroll, the site
gently past the.. (fill in the blank)

Nix

Warren, thanks for the updates to the article. I appreciate it.

Ed

Warren,

Do you have a part number for that piece? Also…if you could provide a bit more detail how to remove the old one I would appreciate it!