BMW i3 Long-Term Review Wrap-Up


Auto Express & their BMW i3

Auto Express & its BMW i3… Sweet shirt!

“If is the future of motoring, then count me in. The i3 has it all – strong performance, cutting-edge design, innovative engineering, low running costs and an upmarket interior. In years to come, we’ll look back on this car and mark it out as the model that kick-started a motoring revolution.” -Auto Express.

…Wow… This is quite a long review of the BMW i3 from Auto Express. Oh, that would be because it is, in fact, a long-term review!

We will pick at some of the most important things in AE’s review of the i3. Aside from the quote above, here is one that jumped out:

BMW i3 compared to…. Whatever that thing is...

BMW i3 compared to…. Whatever that thing is…

“The picture above pretty much sums up my feelings for the BMW i3, but I’ll make things even clearer: it’s my favourite car ever to feature on the Auto Express fleet. In fact, it’s one of the best cars I’ve ever driven in my entire career as a motoring journalist.”

Auto Express states that the i3 is very comfortable, zippy, grippy, and that you have a wide field of view when driving. And let’s not forget that it’s dirt cheap to operate?

“Plus, I’m not the only person who’s attached to the car. Even though less than 1,000 have been sold in the UK, I’ve had contact with more i3 owners than for any other car I’ve had during my 13 years at Auto Express. Needless to say, it’ll be sorely missed.”

However, one of the comments for the i3 from AE was this:

“Staff not only need special training, but workshops must be properly equipped and showrooms need to be in keeping with the new ‘i’ sub-brand.”

AE’s i3 had a pretty large service issue, that eventually did get solved. Don’t let that deter you though, as most new vehicles have their own set of “early production” issues.

Auto Express concludes:

“It’s genuinely good fun to drive – the instant response from the electric motor means little can touch it in town. The proof came in a story I was told about a wealthy banker who bought an i3, not because it’s hi-tech, or green, but because it kept beating his Aston Martin DBS away from the lights on his drive through the City of London. High praise, indeed…”

We highly encourage you to read Auto Express’s full long-term report here.

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11 Comments on "BMW i3 Long-Term Review Wrap-Up"

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Great car to drive, yes.

“The model that kick-started a motoring revolution”? Please.

Warren M

Its really a product of their unexpected excitement from experiencing the i3.

Bill Howland

Its interesting comparing the I3 with my new ELR. The Rex version is only about $2000 less, and, with the heat recovery of the ELR during the wintertime, makes its superior efficiency difficult to choose between the 2 cars on that basis. Probably depends more on buyer preferance.

Motorweek also like the I3, however, they only got 80 miles of range with the comfort setting off. So that would compare with about the 50 miles I get in the ELR under similiar driving conditions.

I have to admit, the I3 is a bit more fun to drive than my ELR (they are different cars after all – the I3 is ‘go-cart-fun’), but in Sum, I’d have to say the ELR is overall the better value for me.

The querkyness/trendiness factor of the BMW might be worth several thousand to a prospective buyer, and therefore, there’s no real wrong answer here. And the BMW nameplate gives it more Panache than a Cadillac these days. For a large, smooth ride in an opulant interior, however, it can’t beat the Caddy.


But doesn’t it annoy you that people even “buy a nameplate”?


2K$ more for the ELR compare to the i3, you got a really good deal. When I bought my i3 last fall there was no incentive in Canada, so it was more a 20K$ difference.

Good for you if you were able to pull such a deal. 🙂

As for range, well I can’t tell in which condition the were doing 80 miles, but I get 95 to 100 miles, with the REX at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the ELR is really a great car, I loved it when I test drove it. But the price was just too much to even consider it.

And with the i3, I’m 99% of time 100% EV, where with the ELR it would have been more 85%-90%.

2 great cars with different qualities.


Agreed, I also test drive the ELR, at the time the price difference was $20K


No one will ever convince me that the i3’s “cutting edge design” is anything but ugly.

Big Solar

what was its pretty large service issue?

Murrysville EV

The devil is in the details, if anyone bothers to read the original AE article.

1. After 7000 miles, the i3 went to a clueless dealer for a REX problem, who took a month to fix it. They had to beg for a loaner.

2. After a track day, they experienced the awesome letdown of the REX, managing only 60 mph top speed.

The car is overpriced, undersized, dangerous with the REX, and has expensive sole-sourced tires. What’s not to like?


I remember outside the US, the i3 can start the REx earlier, so it somewhat alleviates the REx power problem.


Overpriced? The interior is best I’ve seen in any car. It has a carbon fiber frame.

Undersized? It’s larger on the inside while simultaneously being smaller on the outside than most cars. Win-win!

Dangerous with the Rex? Do you run your gas car down to “E”? Also I would recommend coding the car to have the non-US “range extender hold” option. Issue solved!

Expensive, sole-sourced tires. Definitely limited options there, but is $155 apiece really too much for you?