BMW i3 Lease – Monthly Payments Finally At Reasonable Levels


In January 2014, InsideEVs obtained (via InsideEVs contributor George Betak) a lease quote on a BMW i3 (see below).  The total monthly payment was a ridiculous $930.

Boy how times have changed.

The image above (via George Betak) shows the current low-mileage lease deal on the BMW i3 BEV at Stevens Creek BMW.  At $369 per month (+tax) and $3,995 out-of-pocket, the rate actually now seems reasonable for a $43,000 EV.

Previous official BMW lease deals on the i3 include the following terms:

  • $499 month (w/$2,950 down) 36 month lease on base BMW i3 ($41,350)
  • $549 month (w/$3,460 down) 36 month lease on base BMW i3 REx ($45,200)

So, if you’re still wondering why BMW i3 sales shot above 1,000 units in August, then wonder no more.  BMW’s lease offer on the i3 is now in line with reality.

Old BMW i3 Lease Quote - Originally Posted on

Old BMW i3 Lease Quote – Originally Posted on – Image George Betak

Hat tip to George Betak!

Categories: BMW

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

51 Comments on "BMW i3 Lease – Monthly Payments Finally At Reasonable Levels"

newest oldest most voted

Good news! That will definitely create more demand for this car. That means with tax and all with zero down you could probably get a payment around $500 per month. Still too high for me when a Leaf or Volt is much cheaper still. But I can see this attracting a lot of new leasers.

BMW still has a long way to go !

All over the Country drivers are being offered “Take the i3 home for the weekend”, test drives. Cars are being returned, often early, with “No thanks!”
One thousand, nine hundred and eleven unsold i3s are at dealers across the Country.
Prices and leases will have to come down further for the i3, to become a competitive choice for buyers. The i3, offers no advantage over much lower priced cars.

Given past exaggerations, I expect BMW to announce soon that,,,”Demand for the i3 has been so great that our supply of carbon fiber can not keep up. WE are forced to temporarily stop production.”
“Carbon fiber” heads the list of exaggerated claims for superior construction, so repeating it often even as an excuse for stopping or ramping back production, will be irresistable.

Dropping 1,200 lbs off this car was no small feat.

The fuel efficiency numbers tell the story. This is the most fuel efficient car on the road today.

I’ll be in the market for one soon.

They do have a long way to go still. I mean, they are barely in the top 6 globally of EV’s sold. And only top 3 of BEV’s.

You would have expected them to be number 1 by now, even though they are still one of the newest additions to the EV market. 🙂

369 + (3995/36) + any options above base, or (10k*.45)/36 if we’re talking loaded REx = ~$600 a month, but don’t go over 12,000mi/yr.

Personally, I’d get an ELR and eat the added fuel cost. Different EREVs, but comparable considering many options (including, um, the engine) are standard on the Caddy.

BMW at least in Europe have a far better handle on electric cars than Tesla.

This will sell in crowded European cities.

Sheiks with chauffeurs aside there is not much fun in pushing something the size of the Death Star about when the streets are narrow, and the ability to accelerate at very high velocity into the car five feet in front of you does not help a lot.

What about the BMW 750, Merc S550, Audi A8, and Porsche Panemera?

Yep, the streets are full of all those.
That doesn’t take too many of them though.

All it takes to dismiss your argument, is one.

How so?

The discussion was about vehicles suited to the streets, and I argued that most people would not want to drive something that bulky.

A few will, of course.
That does not mean that the i3 is not far better suited to those conditions.

I might not have been clear, but my point was that the Model S is targeted to compete against and sell at similar volumes to the cars I listed.

The i3 should be targeted to sell in higher volumes and target a different market of buyers.

There is plenty of room for both cars in the Europe market.

It seems like both bmw and tesla think that the model s will sell at higher volume in both eu27 and north america.

Today’s i3 is a tow in the water for bmw. They expect to learn a lot to learn a lot, as well as push forward carbon fiber tech. The leaf should remain the volume leader. I’m not sure why davemart thinks the i3 is going to the same customers as the model S. IF bmw helps get more quick chargers out their, it should help make the model S an easier sell and increase volume. Plug-in cars are a growing market, not a zero sum game.

Yep, fair enough.

Sales of luxo-barges are far higher than I had realised, running to 8,000 for the UK in 2012:
(pg 30)

Plenty of room for Tesla there, it seems.

The European market in that category might run to 40,000 or so pa then, as a WAG.

It sounds like DaveMart is talking about the market for e-bikes or, at best, a NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle).

Anyone in the market for one of those clearly isn’t in the market for a Tesla Model S… altho the article is actually about the BMW i3.

Trust DaveMart to never pass up an opportunity to bash Tesla Motors.

I’m not sure how DaveMart is “bashing” Tesla in this post. Maybe by overstating the size of the Model S? His point is that the car is not well suited to European cities whereas the i3 is designed with them in mind.

I have never been to Europe, but from everything I hear, this is a perfectly valid assessment.

“Luxo barge” ? And you don’t detect bashing? DaveMart appears to be BMW
plant, that’s all.

I think the gloves will come off when Model III and X and Volt II are on the market. Time will tell if big ICE carmakers like BMW react or just continue making city EV
commuters with premium pricetags.

My guess is that Model III success will then prompt a smaller Tesla CUV based on the III
and every other ICE-maker will be rushing to market.

2018 to 2020 will be glory days for BEVs.

I guess I don’t read his comment that way. The Model S is a huge sedan, even by American standards (compared to, say, the Camry/Malibu/Accord/Fusion mid-sized class). In Europe, with narrow crowded streets, that’s pretty much a joke!

Anyway, I agree that Tesla’s next generation is likely to knock it out of the park. Coupled with all the other EVs in their second generation (Leaf, Volt, i3, eGolf, etc), 2018-2020 will be huge indeed!

I sort of agree, but as I pointed out above, all of the other oversized luxury sedans Model S competes with are based out of Europe. So the argument that vehicles that size make no sense on the continent is garbage.

Fair enough. We’re all guilty now and then of applying our own situation to the community at large, though. I believe Dave lives in one of those cities, which would account for that bias.

I live in a typical American suburb. I have an attached garage, and a short commute. But I also have family that lives 250-300 miles away whom I visit often enough that I cannot go fully electric. In fact, a PiP would burn less gas for me than a Volt. It has been a struggle for me personally to put that aside and look at the bigger picture.

I think most people here want to see more plug-ins on the road. We really need a wide variety of options to suite everyone’s needs. The good news is, there are more options every year!

These leasing deals are much better than I was getting a few months ago. I may check back with my local dealer and see what they offer.

so $3995 down is a lot for a lease and in VA you can add $1750 in sales tax at 4.5% to the down money
then you pay personal property taxes each year to the tune of $1500
plus 10k a year is just to few miles for anyone with a job

nevermind almost all the Mega world cars have NO BACKUP CAMERA, try selling a $43,000 car without one people….. BMW really dropped the ball here
oh and I forgot no DCFC with 750 miles of the east coast. Nearest one is in Atlanta
when I showed the dealer the chargepoint app and showed 20 nearby chademo quick chargers and 600 nationwide, and then flipped the screen to SAE combo………. the jaws dropped and they asked why would BMW choose SAE?
good question

I’m pretty sure backup cameras are required features now on cars due to regulations.

Not yet, but soon. 2016 is when that law goes into effect, IIRC.

Not required yet.
“ 0% of the vehicles manufactured before May 1, 2016;
 10% of the vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2016, and before May 1, 2017;
 40% of the vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2017, and before May 1, 2018; and
 100% of the vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018.”

Thanks, Nice work!

Glad you lookrf past the tires, windows and doors 😉

“I showed the dealer the chargepoint app and showed 20 nearby chademo quick chargers and 600 nationwide, and then flipped the screen to SAE combo………. the jaws dropped”

Leaves no doubt why BMW went to go chat with Tesla. They know the home team too well.

And the dealer could counter back and mention the i3 comes standard with such premium features such as LED headlights, PDC, navigation, etc.

They have Park distance Control which still warns you of objects close to the rear bumper. They just happened to start putting a new SAE combo charger where I live in Camarillo, Today!

The i3 is fun to drive. I’ll be looking for one when the Focus Electric lease is up unless someone wants to take it off my hands now. I’ll give you a discount on the lease price 😉

For reference, this is about the same cost as leasing a Nissan Leaf SL was in 2012. Oh how far we have come in so little time!

There is no back up camera, but there are back up sensors on the base i3.

Yes, rear parking sensors are standard and are included in the base model. The camera cannot be purchased by itself, but the parking package is fairly reasonably priced at $1,000. Aside from the rear camera, it includes front parking sensors, and it can parallel park the i3 via the push of a button.

I would not get this car without the REx until there’s a decent CCS network in my region.

Another way to look at this issue is …. Right now fast charge is not available for the i3, hence $50 per month extra for the Rex is cheap insurance

Nobody commented on the 41% residual. A 50K car will cost 21K when the three years is up. 21K + 4K down + 13K payments = 38K as the real cost of the car.

41% residual is not unusual for high end cars

41% not unusual for high end cars?

Are we really considering the i3 high end? BMW typically gets 50% at 3 years for both the 3 and 5 series. Sure, I’m guessing the 7 gets a little less. That is the true high end.

Actually I think I got 60% on a 3 year with a 2004 545. So maybe 60% is more typical for a 3yr BMW.

Somehow I don’t think anyone is comparing the i3 to a 545…..

The TC changes things of course.

And $38k + $7,500 (tax credit that BMW gets to claim) = $45,500. If MSRP is $43,175, then the finance charge for leasing is $2,325. There is really nothing special here, this is all very kosher.

Sorry, now I see that you based it off of a $50,000 car, not MSRP of $43,175. I’m not sure that this lease deal applies there, it will probably cost more.

So a $43,175 car will have a residual of $17,700. $17,700 + $4,000 down + $13,000 payments + $7,500 tax credit = $42,200. Slight discount actually over MSRP, and zero financing charge. A decent deal, but not nearly as good as what you suggested.

I think I’d be pretty happy with an i3 Rex at 3 years of age for $20k. Something to think about for the future…. I think the real residual will be a bit higher than that for the most fuel efficient car ever produced.

Sorry – that maybe an exaggeration. Perhaps most fuel efficient produced in volume??

Is Tesla Model S too big for Europe ?.

Apparently not in Switzerland, where the Model S is the best selling electric vehicle in 2014 with 314 sales against the BMW i3 with 257.

Wait a minute, I thought that Switzerland was a place of narrow winding mountainous roads. impassable to the Model S.

According to some folks, the only way you can get around in Switzerland or Europe in general is apparently riding an electric motor scooter. (sarcasm)

Look, once you get out of the narrow streets of some European cities, it’s smooth sailing for the big Mercedes or Model S on England’s motorways or the autobahns in Germany.

Besides, many European cities are starting to block automobile traffic in certain sections of the inner city.

Sure streets are narrow in European CITIES, but once outside the city, it’s a different story.

“The narrow streets of Europe” argument is a red herring. The real reason Europeans drive small cars is because they are cheaper to buy, the VAT taxes are less, and they require much less expensive and highly taxed gasoline/diesel.

$3995 down? That’s crazy. That’s around $111/mo spread out across the 36 month lease. That’s equal to $480/mo not including tax.

And BWM is still only applying the partial $7500 rebate as a cap cost reduction. Boo…

Has anyone figured out any options yet for different wheels/tires? BMW’s website says the standard wheels for the i3 are: Tire dimensions 155/70 R19 Wheel dimensions 5Jx19 i3 with REx gets different wheels/tires for the rear only: Tire dimensions rear 175/65 R19 Wheel dimensions rear 5.5Jx19 I don’t like the fact that the style 430, 428 and 429 wheels on the i3 REx can’t be rotated at all. Not front to back, or even one side of the car to the other side of the car. (The front wheels/tires are a different size than the rear, and the style 430, 428 and 429 wheels are directional — right and left side of the vehicle specific. The right rear wheels are a different part number than the left rear wheels.) I don’t want to keep replacing one passenger rear tire over and over, because it gets all the wear from my heavy right foot. I’ve already been there with staggered wheels with directional tires, and it was very annoying. It was real annoying when the tire company discontinued the tires I’d installed less than a year before (replaced all 4), and I was forced to buy 1 rear tire that didn’t… Read more »

It also looks like there is no spare, and the Bridgestone tires are NOT run-flats!

Having no spare with run-flats on most newer BMW’s is annoying enough, but at least you can drive on the run-flats a little while. No spare and no run-flats, with a crazy tire size that you can’t find anywhere is insane. Especially if you get the i3 REx with the 20 inch wheel package, and have the rarest rear tire size of them all — the 175/55-20 tire! A tire that only exists to be put on i3’s that have both the REx option, and the 20″ wheel option. How many of these are going to be stocked by anyone, anywhere?

The LEAF doesn’t come with a spare or run flats either. The i3 tires are pretty cheap too.

Cheap perhaps but availability is an issue. You could easily get stranded in an i3 and have to wait 3-4 days for a tire.

Most BMW dealerships will stock this tire. Especially since they don’t take up much shelf space, lol.

I have an i3 BEV fully loaded and I pay north of 900$ including taxes in Canada. When I factor in the gas I was spending before, it is equivalent to paying about 600$ a month and I consider this car to be well worth it. I don’t understand how people can compare this car to a Leaf, a Volt or anything else. This car has so much more than other EVs aside from the Tesla. The carbon fiber frame, the technology and the performance, not to mention the fun to drive has a price. R&D is not free. If you don’t care about any of this and all you want is four wheels, then yes there are many options that are less expensive. But please people, stop asking or hoping for BMW to sell at Nissan’s prices.

I think the handwriting is on the wall for BMW in the U.S. At my dealership there are 7-10 i3s trying to find a home. I think I know why the i3 is having trouble. BMW framed the car around the MegaCity concept.

In Paris and London micro cars are present everywhere due to narrow and congested streets. In America, very few would buy a micro car and rent when they need something bigger (SUV, Truck, etc.). We will buy the biggest vehicle and mentally write-off the higher maintenance and fuel costs.

For disclosure I have a BMW hybrid and a Golf TDI. I don’t need a large Tesla and can’t wait for a Model X. Therefore, I am going with the e-Golf. I have had zero problems with my 2010 Golf TDI with 39K miles and I feel I got great value-for-money each time I drive it.

Finally, if VW can bring the $300 lease noted on InsideEvs for the e-Golf, it will clobber the i3. I suspect BMW is aggressively working on a stretched i3/i5 real four-door.

Interesting comparison: