BMW i3 Declared BMW’s Best All-Around Car

JUN 3 2015 BY STAFF 66

There’s no such thing as the best car in the world. You can drive a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and become so infatuated with it that you may proclaim it to be the best in the world, but the fact of the matter is that no such car exists.

There are different cars that are better for different situations. For instance, the F12 may be the best car for touring the more scenic parts of Europe, but for doing the daily shopping run? Serviceable at best. So each fantastic car is only fantastic when fulfilling its purpose. So, if there is no best car, is there a best BMW? I actually think there may be.

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW is currently doing an extended drive event for the i3, where potential customers can drive an i3 for a few days to see if an electric vehicle might suit their lifestyle. It’s an excellent program, in which I took part in months ago, because you really can’t learn of how well EV life may suit you until you live it. But this program got me thinking about the i3, and its purpose. This line of thinking led me to believe that if there is such a perfect BMW, hypothetically speaking of course, it could possibly be the i3.

When people think BMWs, a lot of the vision in their mind is windy roads being tackled at great speed with a glorious engine note in the background. And while BMWs are perfectly capable of delivering on such fantasies, seldom does it actually occur. What actually does occur in a BMW is a lot of waiting in traffic, getting cut off by Audi drivers and pretending that you weren’t doing the drums to AC/DC on your steering wheel when other drivers catch you. That’s because most roads in America are very, very crowded and it’s rare to catch a bit of twisty stuff uninhabited by many other drivers.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG by Nico DeMattia. Check it out here.

bmw i3 images LA 46 750x500 Is there a perfect car?

BMW i3

It’s because of this that the i3 shines. It is not only a lovely place to sit in for a long time, due to its pleasant and relaxing interior, but it doesn’t use a drop of fuel while doing so. It’s a perfect city car. It’s also small and nimble enough to navigate those pesky city centers, filled with people driving Chevy Suburbans that are the size of a city block. The best part of the i3, though? It’s actually fun.

When you finally reach a fun road in an i3, it truly does have the handling chops you’d come to expect from BMW. It’s nippy and fun to drive, with excellent steering response, if a little lacking in feel. The electric motor provides plenty of power to make corner exit enjoyable. And because the center of gravity is so low, and the chassis is so stiff, it is genuinely fun to toss around. All while, again, using zero fuel.

So the i3 can be a dual threat. It can be the fun canyon carving BMW we’re all used to, but can also double as a fun city car. And it’s also extra friendly to Johnny Polar Bear. It seems like it could be the best all rounder. Is it the perfect BMW? Of course not. It still can’t take long trips or carry a lot of people and it really isn’t all that fast. But it’s close and BMW seems to be getting closer. If BMW can deliver on the promises of a further range and shorter charge times, cars like the i3 will get closer and closer to that perfect car pipe dream so many have. But until then, the i3 is pretty damn close.

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66 Comments on "BMW i3 Declared BMW’s Best All-Around Car"

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DB

We just exchanged our FIAT 500E (which was a blast to drive) for a i3 REX a week ago. Looking forward to seeing the similarities and differences.

Austin Anthony

“…if you do not care about performance or cost or passing on a hill or driving beyond the city limit or …” That should be added to your article’s title. It is a sub-par BMW product. It is not in the same league as a 3 or 5 series from BMW. So, if you can’t have spirited drives on winding, scenic roads with your car every day, then get a boring car. Is that your point?

Lensman

You must have skimmed the article pretty fast. If you had read it more carefully, you might have noticed him saying “…it doesn’t use a drop of fuel…”

It’s pretty clear the author is reviewing the pure i3 BEV, not the crippled PHEV (range extended REx) version.

James

Might I add that Tesla Model S actually creates categories that all those other cars that may come to your mind do not even qualify for!

What other one automobile does as much as Model S? Name one.

These BMWBlog articles always bore me. The world does not revolve around BMW.

franky_b

Then why read and comment them everytime? Move on, we know, it’s not a car for you 😉

Trace

BDS

The world does not revolve around Tesla.

EVer

Model S is the best car in the world and thats a fact.

Styling, Efficiency, Practicality, Performance, Safety, Cost, Driveablilty, Environmental Impact.

Please name another car that has better stats in all those categories… i’ll wait…. *sips coffee*

Spider-Dan

The car is priced far out of reach of the overwhelming majority of buyers. So sure, as long as money is not a concern, it’s awesome.

James
How many of you watch television? What crosses your mind when a luxury car manufacturer uses taglines like, “pushes forward the advances in technology and innovation”…etc,? If you’re like me, sometimes your brain is in “ignore mode”, but if you watch Mercedes, Infinity, Acura, Lexus, Audi and BMW ads, and actually listen to the words — one thing always stands clear: Internal combustion engines have been powering cars since the 1890s. No matter how many valves, computers or timing tweaks – that 4-pot, 6-pot or 12-pot piston machine is still spinning hundreds of friction parts, lubricated by dirty oil – whose lubrications and parts need regular servicing and replacement. Electric cars started out strong but fell short back in those days because no batteries existed that lived up to the electric motor, with one moving part. Today is different. Everything from a Bugatti Veyron for 2 million dollars ( U.S. ) to any so-called luxury car you can name are only evolutionarily-improved versions of that explode-and-bang piston-powered tech with it’s inherent major setbacks. Add the huge problem the gasoline engine has faced ever since it’s inception – the fact that it’s fuel is non-sustainable, causes war and conflict and pollutes… Read more »
franky_b

Oh boy, James… are you okay? You start to worry me, should we send someone to help you? Go easy on the rant, don’t spend it all on one post.

James

Seriously?!

Frank, are you on meds?

That’s all you can say about all the “latest in innovation and technology” bloviations luxury car makers pay millions to put on TV?

That I went on a rant?!

Shame on you Franky boy.

Khai L.

Actually, I agree with Frank. You’re expousing Tesla on a post about the best “BMW”. Last I checked Tesla isn’t owned by BMW.

Irrelevant message on the wrong page for the wrong reasons translates to the wrong message about the poster.

James

Khai, read the first sentence in the article.

When I was in school I was taught the first sentence sets the tone for the entire piece and paragraph. “There is no such thing as the best car in the word”. A very bold statement to start an article. One with which I contested.

Simple. Right?

Ricardo

Hey James. Sod off… Seriously

James

Why? Because I make to much sense for you?

Seriously, “Sod off” is inane and sophomoric.

Makes you look bad.

Lensman

Dude! Take a stress tab and chill out.

A rant against gas guzzlers is rather out of place in reply to an article extolling the virtues of a BEV.

And while I, too, would rather own and drive a Tesla Model S, I think the world would be a pretty boring place if everybody drove the same car. Vive la différence!

Warren

I will say it again. The i3 Rex is the best car in 30 years. Until/unless somebody delivers a small 200 mile range full EV that matches its Wh/mile, it has no competition.

For most people, they will get 90% of their miles on electricity, and the embodied lifetime CO2 is better than the 60 kWh Tesla S for half the price.

And small/sporty wins my vote every time!

James
Name one way the i3 for $50,000 (U.S.) is better than a gen2 Volt for $33,000. Name one way a family household who, like everyone – has the occasional need for spontaneity or emergency transportation can count on an i3. Let’s just forego the price situation, and even the price of proprietary body repair by BMW dealers of CFRP. Let’s just excuse BMW for seating for 4, Mars-lander styling and rear doors mainly found on extra-cab pickup trucks and confounding and perplexing to most. Let’s just focus on the fact the i3 is just another 80 mile EV that requires a spare conventional car as backup for long trips, emergencies and spontaneous drives. At BMW service, maintencance and MSRP costs, all for an 80 mile EV… I think your thinking has major flaws. The ReX adds even more expense at purchase, along with a small 2 cylinder, Taiwanese scooter engine to get you to the next freeway exit for another 30-40 minutes of driving. How is this ideal? As I’ve said before – some have printed stories about how they drove their i3 over a mountain range or to the next state. I like to say I can cross the… Read more »
Mikael

Stop trolling. One post or two is enough, now you’re just being sad.

James

I’m no “troll” Mikael. I am a contributor to this and other EV websites, and a daily
commenter.

Why do you take a negative view of a post that shares limitations of the i3?

These are facts – not hate.

Refute those facts and I will respect your views.

James, you are more of a detractor than a contributor.

James

Opinions are like noses. Most of us have one.

With your opinion. You haven’t said why my points are invalid.

de·trac·tor: A person who disparages someone or something.

I never said your points were invalid. I simply disagree with you. I agree with Mikael that the Models S is too big and expensive for my tastes. I even configured a 70D online, but I will wait for a model 3.

James
Is the BMW i3 the best BMW ever made? Depends upon the metric. If taking the least amount of workers to screw ( glue and rivet ) together. By far. If amount of R&D time taken to reduce costs ( small lithium battery ) of manufacturing pure electric cars? Totally. Naturally, i3 is not about maximum speed or handling. I would say i3 would score best in those categories I listed. BMW told SAE and IIHS that the main goal in developing CFRP and i3’s numerous lightweighting technologies was to simplify the production process, thus needing less human workers and allowing more inclusion of CFRP-carbon fiber sandwiched by layers of plastic – into more of it’s ICE models. So look at that on it’s face. BMW reduced production costs of an EV. This should translate to a less-expensive EV for you and me. Instead, it’s a premium-priced 80 mile EV that costs less for BMW to make. Add lighter parts for their high profit margin ICE CUVs and sedans. The entire exercise didn’t push forward the mass-production of EVs for BMW. Instead, it meant lower costs and higher profits for them. The Kymco 2-cylinder scooter engine pieced by BMW for… Read more »
franky_b
Ha! That’s a more sound post James, even worth a longer reply. Is it the greatest thing since sliced bread? Well you set the bar high here. No it’s not. But it open a transition path, the same path the Volt started 7 years ago. A little firm specialized in reverse engineering clearly describes the i3 as a break through in many aspect. In their own terms: It’s a watershed moment. They seem to know what they are talking about, so I’ll just let watch the video https://www.youtube.com/embed/uDr4L6BzpP8 No, the little 2 cylinder engine is not the best solution but it balance production cost and performance, engine needed 1% of the time. I can confirm that, since I have one. As far as premium experience, I’ll just mentionned what everyone that sat in my i3 said (and I had a few since I volonteered 2 days and let over 60 person drove my car). They couldn’t believe the quality of finish of that small package, how unique it was and how open it was. It is a premium experience that doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for most. BTW, I want them to make money out of the car… Read more »
James

Franky, I commend you for not name-calling, as other BMW fans have today. You actually commented with your views and some information, which is tastefully shared.

When you call me a “romantic”, I may disagree, and toss that notion back to you. Why? The reverse-engineering firm you site is a business. Their business in dissecting a Volt or i3 is to sell the information they have gained to other manufacturers who may have some interest in the technology. Thus, if they said, “The i3 is an overpriced exercise in reducing manufacturing costs of EVs for larger profit, and spreading lightweight materials throughout their ICE product line to meet worldwide governmental MPG and C02 mandates”, they wouldn’t sell many copies of their report, would they?

This subject rose up not long ago when Monroe’s report was made public. Upon research, it appears Monroe seeks millions of dollars for it’s report and justifies that price by claiming BMW’s approach is groundbreaking and will greatly benefit others. Monroe also offers smaller bits of information gained on it’s tearing down of the i3 and it’s own analysis.

So, who is more “romantic” now? When Monroe dissected a Volt, they made similar claims a few years ago.

franky_b

I agree with you, they want to sell their report. That being, before you draw a conclusion about what they said, you should take the time to watch it.

And If their report praised the Volt, they were right to do.

Peder

we love our i3’s! and can’t think of another BMW that we would rather have instead, in addition to yes, but not instead of, so good job on this piece!

James

I applaud anyone who buys an EV, no matter what the brand, or how much they were willing to pay.

I’m really happy you love your i3, Peder – the more EVs on our roads, the better. When you purchased your i3, you agreed to deal with the shortcomings I’ve listed above. You believed a car with a BMW badge was naturally worth more than another 80 mile BEV with a non-luxury brand name.

Ás an i3 owner, you cannot contest the limitations and expenses I mentioned in my post. I’m glad you’re happy – but that is an awful lot of money to spend on what is basically another of the fleet of available 80 mile ( in moderate temperatures ) BEV.

James

I might also add, that when it comes to brand loyalty – as a car guy, you hear the most entertaining things.

The other day on GM-Volt, there were some people using the Pontiac Aztec as an example of major flops made by an automaker. After a few hours, posts popped up from people defending the lowly Aztek, saying it was the best car they ever owned! LOL! Some others noted that many are still on the road looking like new and lauding their quality.

Every car has it’s fans, and those fans will stick by their car no matter what the obvious facts are out there that support that it wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread.

Ricardo

Cheers mate, for ruining my insideevs reading time.

James

Cheers, mate.

No more headline reading for you!

Just think how much time we’ve wasted watching those baboons over at Top-Gear bloviate about sheer nonsense. At least, here, is logical thought and prudent advice!

Speculawyer

I still think it looks like a piggy bank.

The perfect car for me would have a lot more range than the i3. It’s cool to design a city car, but first it needs to have enough range to actually get to the city.

I was really interested in the i3 when it was initially announced, but it turned into a huge disappointment for me. The small 22KWh battery and the quirky styling undermine what could have been a really great car. The 28HP / 1.9 gallon REx is pathetic, and in my opinion, potentially unsafe.

I sure hope BMW gets a clue and makes changes soon to realize the potential of this car. The performance, efficiency and advanced construction could set the bar in the small EV category. But, they better be thinking about how to get a 50KWh battery into that small frame, before the Bolt, Model 3 and LEAF 2 become available.

Speculawyer

I think I’m the only one that likes the small underpowered ICE as a REx. It encourages you to use electricity so you don’t have to use that underpowered polluting noise-maker.

I just think it is a rip-off by adding $4K to the price!

At first, I thought the optional twin cylinder REx was a brilliant idea. It should have been light and powerful. With 75HP, like the BMW scooter, it could have easily powered the 2,800 pound i3. But the 28HP version is vastly underpowered, to the point of being bizarre.

Speculawyer

28HP? Really? it is THAT small? That is pathetic.

Disappointed

The Tipping Point !

When historians reflect on the evidence of the collapse of America’s Sound and Prudent judgment, they will debate:

June 2015 !
Was the Telling Moment when Bruce became Caitlyn or was it that someone declared the BMW i3, a great car ???

Lensman

If someone calling the Edsel a “great car,” back in its day, didn’t lead to the USA jumping the shark, then someone doing the same for the i3 certainly won’t.

Not everyone has the same needs or wants in a car. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

James
– From the article: “There is no such thing as the best car in the world”. I disagree. I hold the belief that the Tesla Model S, in general, and P-85D in particular, is by far the best car in the world. Why? It doesn’t score fastest on a track. It doesn’t score fastest 0-60. It doesn’t plow through 4 feet of snow, and it won’t win the Paris-Dakar rally. What it does do is score extremely high in all the categories that matter. And if an individual wants to buy one car, and one car only…There is no match for a Model S – none! It runs on zero gasoline. It’s maker gave it a worldwide fueling infrastructure that requires no payment at time of refueling. No car is quieter. It seats 5+2 children or little people. It has two capacious trunks. It is daily seen on the internet in viral videos racing $420,000 supercars and beats 97% of them 0-60, probably 100% 0-30, or stoplight-to-stoplight. I could go on, but I think you get the gist. If you name one priority, say smoothness, or gadgetry ( 20″ iPad center control unit ), or innovation, quickness to quality, customer… Read more »
franky_b

James… read the title again… BMW’s best all around car. Not World best all around car.

And you own a Tesla, right? Yeah, there that price thing you forgot in your rant…

James

Franky, read the first sentence of the article.

When I was in school, they taught that the first sentence sets the tone for the entire piece and paragraph. – “There is no such thing as the best car in the world”. A very bold statement – and one I contested.

Simple – right?

franky_b

James, you do understand, the best car for one person based on the criteria of that person will be one of the worse car for another person. So yes, that statement is right, because it preclude we all have the same reference point. and your reference point is… well we don’t really know what your reference point is.

Come on James, english is not my first language and I get that…

Aaron

If the i3 is BMW’s best car, the rest of their cars must really suck. I drove the i3 and wasn’t terribly impressed. Especially driving it back-to-back with my Mitsubishi i-MiEV and a Tesla Model S. The i3’s interior is the size of the i-MiEV with the cabin quietness of the Tesla, all while losing the great visibility of the i-MiEV and ease-of-access of a true four door vehicle. It felt and drove like a CUV — not the kind of car that makes me feel safe pushing it to its limits.

Mikael

The Model S is too big and too expensive. Thankfully that will be solved in the future with the Model 3 (and maybe the Model Y).

+1 Mikael

franky_b

Okay I’ll throw a few point, just for the sake of it.

The Tesla is one of the worse EV, for me.

I can not even get to see my folks without planning and risking missing electrons to make it there. (Tesla charging network is almost non-existant here, only 2 charging station). I may as well buy a Leaf.

It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s a boat, it’s not practical in the city. As big as it is, I’m 6’2″ and barely fit in it.

I pay a crazy price for a big battery for which I only use a small portion 99% of the time.

I can’t stand that big montruosity screen in the middle, it means everytime I have to move eyes away from the road to play with touch screen.

It’s freeking alongated Camry… it is even called the Electic Camry in SF.

See James, destroying a car is easy… Your dream car can easily be the worst car for someone else. But you don’t see me ranting on Tesla post. I think the car has its merits, but it’s not for me.

James

I think you are still missing my point. The author raised the question with his statement – “There is no best car in the world”. Your statement is absolutely correct – there is no best car in the world for everybody. Everyone’s needs are different.

When citing a best car on the planet – many conclusions have to be made that are massive generalizations. Otherwise, the question would be more categorically-defined. Such as, The Best Car In The Word For Commuters; Apartment Dwellers; City Inhabitants; Families; Sports Car Owners…etc..

In the extremely broad category the author alludes to: “Best Car In The World”, one has to factor in other cars that are commonly touted as meeting the most BESTS in many respective categories such as performance, quality and attainability. One cannot make such a broad judgement without some stating: “It’s not the best car for me!”.
That is a given.

On a broad scale, I don’t think my statement is easy to contest. Model S not only makes it’s own categories, but tops the lists of more categories than any other vehicle produced today.

franky_b

What list? Yours?

Thank you for making my point, because from my list, the Tesla is at the bottom of most… Get it? Your Personal choice doesn’t make you the reference for all. And that’s the point of the introduction.

Anyhow… Moving on.

EVer

There is one list that exists for all cars, and the Tesla is on top of every category on that list regardless of your own personal “list”

Lensman
There are lots of lists. One list would be a car in which you can put a 4′ x 8′ uncut sheet of plywood. We can do that in our Chrysler Town & Country minivan, and as a woodworker, that comes in very handy. The Tesla Model S? Nope, not on that list. Similarly, a contractor may well find a pickup a much better fit to his work than a Model S. A rich Chinese person who uses a chauffeur and likes an opulent rear seat area might find the Model S to be cramped in that regard. Not gonna be on his list. The traveling salesman who drives 300+ miles per day isn’t going to want any BEV, not even a Model S. The soccer mom who plays bus driver for her kid’s team may need something with more passenger room than a Model S, too. Someone who wants to tow his Caravan camper down the road at highway speed won’t choose the Model S, at least not if he’s wise. Now, you can rightfully point out that the Model S has been called “best car ever made” or at least “best car we ever reviewed” by more high… Read more »

“There’s no such thing as the best car in the world.”
——–

Hey, if Donald Trump can determine the best woman in the universe, we can surely determine the best car in the world right? LOL.

James

🙂 Exactly!

Aaron

Actually, I think we’re far more qualified to determine the best vehicle in the world than Donald Trump is to determine the most beautiful woman in the world.

James

One place Franky_b and I agree is that we both want manufacturing costs to be constantly lowered so more EVs are built.

BMW did it by re-inventing the manufacturing wheel, so-to-speak, in their highly robotic gluing and stamping processes invented for i3.

GM has reduced manufacturing costs of the Volt in a more conventional way – spreading the costs over more models. The Cadillac CT-6 PHEV has LG’s Volt batteries in a different configuration and both the Malibu Hybrid ( and I am predicting a v.2 Cruze Hybrid ) have the Volt’s newer electric motors, power electronics and transfer case.
Not to say GM didn’t innovate along the way with Volt v.2. Variable regen, non rare earth metals in one motor and less in the other with re-engineered power electronics for simpler units and smaller size all add to the tech.

All this and more is needed to reduce costs along with more energy-dense, less expensive batteries. This is the only way the EV ball is moved forward along the road to mainstream EV acceptance. Which is what we all want.

franky_b

James, please refrain from putting words in my mouth.

I can speak for myself.

But you just make sensible sense for once. You should aim at this kind of contribution next time

James

Your English is superb. I wish I had a second language in which I was so fluent.

I did catch the, “next time” in your comment.

I’m making sense now.

EVer

If only the i3 was an electric 4 series…

Ambulator

If the i3 is BMW’s best car I feel sorry for BMW.

John MB

Having an i3 BEV fully loaded for $38K is awesome, and then powering it with our roof-top solar panels makes this EV a home run.

While I’m not sure there is a best anything..I am sure that the i3 is the best car I’ve owned, and I’ve been buying cars since 1966.

I get 90 to 100 miles on a fully charged battery, no exhaust, no gas stations, and great handling. My need to go over 100 miles has never arisen since I got this car in Oct. No regrets in giving up the range that I never needed for all the pluses I get by going solar as my fuel of choice.

Thank you BMW!!

Anthony Castro

Wow James, you post a lot of stuff.

James

“stuff”. Gee thanks, LOL

Perhaps they should pay me.

Aaron

Actually, you’re paying them with advertising views… 😉

Steve

I love my i3 Rex. I have a 60 mile daily commute and want to do it on electric. The Tesla is out of my price range. During the summer, many 80 mile ev cars such as the Leaf or Ford Focus electric would work but in the winter cold of South East Idaho, those cars won’t cut it. My i3, which gets 80 miles when its warm, only gets 55-60 when its -20F. That’s when my Rex kicks in and gets me home where others might not make it. I’m 99% electric and if I need to run an errand or grab a sandwich at lunch, I can still make it home.

Phr3d

Still EAGERLY awaiting that ‘ignore user’ button, gentlemen. How many 50% articles does it take? Metheenks he’s someone’s little brother, yes?So many past posters MIA now – ever make ya’ go ‘hmmm’?

end rant, be back someday to check in..