BMW M Fan Buys i3


Hi, my name is Manny and I’m a BMW M Certified client advisor, and I just bought a BMW i3. Let me clarify one thing, I’m also one of the first BMWi certified client advisors and have been in the BMW EV program since I delivered the very first ActiveE in January of 2011. My heart still lies with the M cars and spending time at the track, but I simply don’t need a track car as a daily driver, what I need is an i3.

Used To Be An “M Guy”

Living in NJ there aren’t many occasions to drive an M5 or the new M3 and M4 to their fullest potential. And honestly driving a track prepared E39 M5 like I did for many years became a chore. Maybe you can chalk that up to old age (I’m 42 now) but driving this beast regularly began to beat me up physically. It was equipped with KW variant 3 coil overs and Dinan sway bars. Stiff is a word commonly used to describe the ride in my M5. That and the full SuperSprint exhaust with X-Pipe became a nuisance to my neighbors when I’d get home late at night from work.



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

When the opportunity arose for me to represent my BMW Center back in late 2010 for the then upcoming ActiveE field trial I jumped at it. Being a product guy I love learning about anything BMW, plus the opportunity to meet a new demographic of BMW buyers intrigued me. Who would buy an electric 1 Series I thought, well I would soon find out.

The clients I would meet were actually car fanatics, much like myself they loved driving their BMWs as much as any other, but they knew something I didn’t yet, the EV fuel free lifestyle and the instant torque. Oh man that torque!

I’d also like to add that EV owners can afford just about any BMW in our lineup, and most certainly the fuel costs associated with some of our V8 offerings. They buy an EV because they love the instant torque, the immediate throttle response and that thing about not spending money on gas. That last part is important because it’s something that really drew me to owning an EV and in particular the i3.

What Has Drawn Me To The BMW i3

So what do I love about the i3? The fact that its “Life Module” is made entirely of carbon fiber produced at BMW’s Moses Lake plant in Washington State which makes it the lightest BMW currently offered for sale. This Life module is mounted on top of the “Drive Module” which holds the 22.8kW battery, much like body on frame construction. Being that the other components of the car such as the body panels are made from thermoplastic the whole package is very light, 2634 lbs for the BEV version and 2799 lbs for the REx.

Could the i3 be a contender for a class win at a future autocross day? We’ll find out in the spring.

The engine, not your typical engine, but nonetheless a fun one. It won’t win any horsepower wars but at 170HP and 184 lb-ft of torque all available from the second you mash the throttle, provides a rush of power similar to driving a silky smooth BMW V12. In fact the i3’s power-to-weight ratio is a very respectable 15.49 lbs/HP. For comparison the 335i rear wheel drive is 11.98 lbs/HP, a 535i rear wheel drive is 13.19 lbs/hp, and a 228i is 13.72 lbs/HP.

But it’s all about the torque with the i3, not the horsepower.

Is The i3 The Perfect Daily Driver?

So let’s boil it down, why did I buy an i3 for a daily driver? Three important aspects:

  • The lowest weight in any BMW making it a very toss-able car in the turns
  • The instant torque allowing for some interesting stop light Grand Prix
  • For my daily commute I wouldn’t have to buy gas.

Care to try it out for yourself? Put in a call to your local BMWi center, a third of the BMW dealerships are currently running a program for an Extended Test Drive on the i3. You get to experience the i3 and all its virtues for 3-4 days. Much like our own Chuck Vossler did and now he’s getting an i3 of his own, while he still owns a E92 M3 and a Porsche 911. There must be a theme here.

The i3 I purchased is an Range Extender REx “Mega world” with the optional 20 inch wheels and a few options like DC Fast Charge and heated seats. Personally I love the Laurel Grey with the BMW i frozen blue trim, it really sets the color combination off. I’ll have another article out soon on the custom bits I created for my i3 such as the custom painted calipers in BMW i blue and a few other touches.

For now I’m just enjoying passing fuel stops that I used to stop at only to hand the attendant $60 every five days.

Yes, the drive is fantastic as well but I can’t get over my fuel savings costs. Now I have more money to save to buy another track car.

Category: BMW

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22 responses to "BMW M Fan Buys i3"
  1. James says:

    Might I direct you to my response to Tom M’s re-printed blog post the other day about his wife’s overnight long trip in their i3.

    This guy hits all the marks I spoke about – including his false information re: ” The fact that its “Life Module” is made entirely of carbon fiber produced at BMW’s Moses Lake plant in Washington State”.

    – Hey, I live in Washington State and used to own property in Moses Lake. First, the Life Module is not made entirely of carbon fiber – it’s CFRP which is molded plastic. If you watch BMW’s own video, one layer of carbon fiber is glued to either side of the plastic. This guy doesn’t understand that this is not “made of carbon fiber”. The carbon thread is manufactured in my state, and spools of the thread are sent to Germany where it is weaved into carbon fiber matte. I’m glad a small bit of this car is made in USA – a small bit. BMW even increased ths size of the facility as CFRP will become commonplace on their gas-hog “Sport Activity Vehicle” SUVs and other gas-hog, higher-profit machines which make up the bulk of their entire worldwide business.

    Here’s a copy of my resspons to Tom M –
    I’m sure you’ll be amazed at how accurate I was about BMW i3 false blog boasts like this daily broadcast on



    November 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks for your response, Tom. I know you always respond to my queries. 🙂

    Thing is, I know there is not a ton of options for prospective EV buyers out there at this time. We can start at the budget basement – the iMiev, and work upwards in price, but the capabilities of more expensive machines rise with that cost increase.

    I live in a moderate climate zone ( Seattle ) and we do experience range reduction in winter, but nothing compared to the frosty northeastern USA or Canada. With our current crop of 80-90 mile BEVs ( the compliance car herd is beginning to make that space crowded )giving us 55-65 miles EV range in winter, the lesser iMiev turns into pretty much a grocery-getter under 32degrees.

    This brings me to why I comment on i3. BMW Blog, and it’s near mirror,, runs nearly every i3 “rah rah” article, video and new wrinkle it can. I don’t think material for EVs is that scarce, personally. You know, for an auto site to run fan pages for a particular car. This site has been in contact with me in the past, informing me that Tesla articles are by far, get the most hits. Yet it seems an effort is being made to pump up he i3. Tom – i3 sales are not brisk. The fact is – besides all the hoopla on here about: “it’s the most efficient EV on the market”, it’s not. Why? Because, as you reiterated, it’s darn expensive to buy out the door for what you get.

    That is what I respond to, most of all. Besides my observations about awkward suicide doors that only work one way, and other questionable choices BMW made in it’s development, I also correct people daily who say i3 is “made of carbon fiber”. Also – it’s not!

    I’m sure we’re both realists, yet I know you are one big BMW fanboy as well. You should be – you’ve been with BMW in their electric experimentation for years. I’ve always enjoyed reading your stuff – but now that BMW has decided to build an electric car for public sale, you have gone off the charts to promote it. I don’t really blame you as much as this site for running all the hype.

    i3 is fascinating. i3 is captivating. The build process, the gluing, the automation…It’s good stuff. But what it all boils down to is what BMW execs themselves told media the car was. It’s a response to government mandates on both sides of the pond. That’s a cute way of saying it’s…you guessed it, a “compliance car”!

    I can’t see i3 selling in even Volt numbers as limited as it is. As you say, it works for your situation – which is a very small niche. To sell in mass numbers, a vehicle has to have less hassle, less bother and more safety. I’m glad your wife knows Tae Kwon Do, but that kind of skirts the point – more gas stops means less safety and much more “work” in finding fuel.

    You said yourself you wished your i3 came with a bigger gas tank and/or a bigger battery. This would mean – MORE UTILITY.

    Are you reading me clearly? Tom – you have 4 cars! This means i3 is a very expensive experiment with a limited use.

    $50,000 is a lot to pay. Lower the package, maybe get one for $44,000 and change? The price will come down – believe me, and faster than Volt’s price reduction came.

    I’m not knocking the car as much as countering all the flag waving and yes, BS – I see here almost daily about how great the car is. It’s still an 80-90 mile BEV ( Summer ). For more cash, it’s one you have to pull off the road every 45 minutes to fill with gas. 4 seats, wacky doors, minivan on LSD looks…


    Tom Moloughney
    November 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    James, if you want to say I’m a BMW fanboy that’s fine, I admit I am a fan of what they are doing with EV’s. Being in their test program for five years I’ve gotten to know some of their EV engineers and program managers, as well as even board members. But maybe you don’t know the i3 is the first BMW I’ve ever owned. Yes, I was in the trial lease program for the MINI-E and ActiveE, but those were very special limited time test programs and there was no chance to purchase even if you wanted to. So I guess you can be a fanboy without actually owning the product, but I though you might be interested in knowing the i3 is really my first BMW, as I hardly count the test cars I’ve driven as “mine”.

    The rear coach doors are meaningless to me. I don’t have kids, and there have probably only been less than 10 times when I had rear seat passengers, and in those times access hasn’t been a problem. I’m only talking about my personal use and really don’t care if a someone else has difficulty getting the kids in the back. If they do, they simply shouldn’t buy the car, maybe get a Volt or another plug in.

    You seem to infer that all I do is praise the car, and that’s hardly the truth. I am as tough an i3 critic as they come, and I am constantly demanding BMW do better. There is a lot to improve upon but I do think it’s a great first EV from BMW and it was the best option for ME – not saying it’s the best for you or anyone else, that’s up to the individual to decide. Also, I do wish the i3 had a bigger battery, but I’ve never said I wish it had a bigger gas tank. For me, it’s perfect as it is. In 12,000 miles I’ve only had to fill the tank 6 times now, which is less than once a month. I don’t want to be carrying around a lot of gas, I just don’t need it.

    Also, Yes I am lucky to have multiple cars (I have three, not four as you said though. The picture was taken in the couple days after I got my i3 but hadn’t returned the ActiveE yet) and I count my blessings every day that I can afford them. I drive the i3, my wife the Equinox and the truck is for my business.

    I’m sorry you see what I’ve written here as BS, it’s not intended to be but if you see it that way, well that’s how it is. If you’re not happy with the content stream here you could always write an article and submit it. I’m sure Eric and Jay would post it if it had a relevant topic. I think they do a good job of spreading out the news though. The i3 is still new and it’s going to get a lot of ink here and on other sites for a while. I bet once the redesigned Volt is released and Gen 2 LEAF they will dominate the headlines for a while also. All the best, Tom


    November 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    No no – you are a fanMAN! 🙂

    I like what you said. I didn’t say your stuff was BS. I said a lot of stuff as in articles here include BS. I define BS as misstatements designed to increase value or perception of the i3. You don’t do this at all. You -enhance- i3 as it goes about it’s duty serving your needs. Plus, you don’t post that stuff on, they pluck it from your blog – and that, again, isn’t your fault. Of course, people going to an i3 blog want to hear all the positive points they can about i3, especially before they go dish out that kind of money to purchase one.

    Common BS re: i3 includes: “It’s the most efficient EV available”. “i3 is made of carbon fiber”. “i3 is suitable as a family’s only car when equipped with the available REx”, “i3 suits the needs of 90% of American families”, “Equipped with the available 2cylinder range extender, i3 doesn’t have the shortcomings a standard BEV possesses”, and “i3 is a legitimate competitor to the Tesla Model S”….

    THAT kind of stuff. I see it here each and every day.

    Oh yes, and this one: “i3 is more attractive than the Chevrolet Volt”. LOL! OK, OK – I threw that one in there, aesthetics are subjective, but who actually says i3 is attractive with a straight face? 🙂 I will and always have given i3 and BMW high marks for it’s innovative interior features, the control stalk, which I think is genius, the sustainable materials, lightweight seats ( all EVs need these! ) and streamlined, bachelor apartment look.

    One last thing. Honestly, I’m too lazy to sift through pages to look – but I’m almost certain you commented on the size of the U.S.-bound i3′s gas tanks, and said you wished they did not reduce the capacity to meet U.S. regulations.

    1. Anonymous says:

      You have no idea what you’re talking about do you?

      The i3 life module is indeed made of carbon fiber. All structural carbon fiber is CFRP. Period. BMW is just calling it by its full technical name, carbon fiber reinforced polymers (plastic is the “layman” term for average Joes such as yourself).

      All structural CF parts are made by bonding CF tape (what BMW uses) or CF fabric with resins (that’s “plastic” in simplistic terms for you). Without the resin all CF would be a floppy mess of uselessness in applications that require stiffness and compressive strength.

  2. James says:

    And yes, once again – today, more i3 “rah rah” stuff from BMW Blog containing misinformation about the car.

    When will it end?

    1. Mikael says:

      How about you just stop your whining?

      It might not be your favourite car but it’s not hard to keep away from the articles. Just don’t click on it when it says “i3”.

      Let us who are interested in one of the best, most popular, innovative and best selling EV’s read about it.

  3. James says:

    Once again – to all those, “It’s the most efficient EV available” folks: How is paying that kind of MSRP with proprietary bodywork that can only be repaird at an expensive BMW dealer with special BMW tools be “efficient”. Boils down to how one defines efficient, I suspect.

    Spending that kind of coin for a BEV or more with one that possesses a gas engine allowing for 45 minute drives to the next long charge or another gas refill….aint efficient folks. You’ll still need a second or third car to do what one traditional car always has been able to do.

    i3 does what LEAFs or numerous OEM compliance BEVs can do – go 60-85 miles on electricity and recharge. All this “tech” for what – exactly? To extract more money from your pocket?

    i3 sites in the middle of a sandwich consisting of Volt on one side and Model S on the other. Volt has zero range anxiety, and zero limitations on it’s gasoline CS travel. Model S, on the other side of the sandwich gives you 100% electric travel at a higher price of admission. i3 really answers none of the big needs – seats 4, has invisible costs up the yang…and only gives some buyers a shot of BMW snob-appeal.

    1. James says:

      paragraph 3 correction: “i3 sits in the middle of a sandwich…”…not “sites”….:)

      1. Phr3d says:

        Thanks so very much for gathering your incessant communique’s in a tight, easy to scroll past bundle. I’ll gamble few read any of it the first time either, excepting poor Tom, bless his patient heart for feeling obligated to respond, even before you began demanding that he do so. As someone so Very familiar with html manipulation, perhaps a link to the original verbage would have been sufficient?

        (as tactfully as I am able, in an effort to avoid angering the management) I simply can Not imagine what makes you believe that your posts are informative.
        I say again (as you -apparently- never read your older posts, and I certainly understand that position), your last post will be appreciated by many that frequent this site.

    2. Tummy says:

      “i3 really answers none of the big needs – seats 4, has invisible costs up the yang…and only gives some buyers a shot of BMW snob-appeal.”

      James, your rant just reads jealousy to me.

      I bought an i3 to drive to the office and take our dog to the park. I would not be seen in a Leaf and the BMW brand is probably the lowest I would go, usually buying Mercedes ///AMG. The image that the AMGs projected to my coworkers caused some problems with office politics though so the i3 is a good step down without getting an econobox.

      You sound just like one of the people that would point out pedantic things why Mercedes is a terrible car while they drive their Hondas or Camrys.

  4. EVer says:

    track cars = wack cars

  5. MTN Ranger says:

    Good luck Manny. The i3 is a great car.

    1. Manny Antunes says:


  6. Elroy says:

    James, these crazed rants really don’t have much weight in regards to the achievements BMW has made with the i3.

    The construction of the i3 is strong and light. So regardless of your nitpicking of the “layers of carbon fiber over plastic” The i3 is the lightest in its class because of the materials used in it’s construction.

    The i3 has one of the highest EPA ratings of any mass production EV. Again, a product of its lightweight construction and innovation.

    The i3 is the quickest in its class. To have the most efficient and quickest numbers simultaneously is a huge accomplishment

    The sales numbers for the i3 are excellent for a company like BMW. So far the i3 numbers are almost 5% of BMWs total sales.

  7. JRMW says:

    Many people love the i3.
    I personally think 5-6 things hold back sales.

    1. Price. Minor issue. Sure it’s more expensive than a Leaf or Volt. But what BMW isn’t more expensive than a Chevy or Nissan? I think it’s a good thing to have several price points. The i3 slides in nicely between the Leaf and Tesla pricing schemes. (Way closer to Leaf side). Lower priced cars always sell more than luxury brands

    2. Looks. Unclear impact. I love the look of the I3 but many don’t. Will impact some sales

    3. Skinny tires. Risky move. Makes i3 look like a clown car and requires special tires only made by one manufacturer. bad move IMO

    4. Suicide doors. Bad move or should have made them operable from the rear seat without the need for front seat person to exit.

    5. RWD. This was the biggest fiasco IMO. RWD is hated in northern states. It’s like selling a car without air conditioning to a Southerner and trying to convince them that rolling down windows is good enough. They should have learned their lesson here after seeing sales of other BMWs explode after adding AWD.

    6. I wish they didn’t cripple the U.S. version.

    But despite this the i3 is a great car. I thought it was by far the most fun EV to drive. The ability to have EV or PHEV was brilliant. It is a different car and that’s not a bad thing.

    It’s a GREAT addition to the field.

    I would own one right now we’re it not for the RWD.

  8. JRMW says:

    There is NOTHING wrong with being super Tesla and I3 boosters.

    More eyeballs reading articles is a GOOD thing. Tesla and BMW bring glam to the EV world. They destroy all arguments about how crappy EVs are.

    They bring people into the conversation. Once there, we can educate them about the merits of the Leaf, Volt MiEV and so on.

    But I tell you what… Soiled up LEAF can go 0-60 in 9+ seconds isn’t going to do it. Tesla goes 0-60 in 3.2 does.

    fwiw I have no intention of buying a Tesla and although I love what they are trying to do I seriously question their stock valuation and their ability to produce the Model 3within any reasonable time scale. But I love that their efforts have challenged the other OEMs to do more,faster, better.

  9. Bill says:

    Manny, are you keeping the 20s on for winter or going the snow-tire route? Does the latter make sense with a 2-year lease? (Are the 20s that bad during Mid-Atlantic winters?)

    1. I can answer that. Manny is getting the same winter wheel/tire combo that I pout on my i3 except I believe he ordered the wheels in black:

      The 20″ tires are really summer only and if you frequently drive in temperatures under 40 degrees during the winter months I strongly recommend you get winter rubber.

      1. JRMW says:

        I’d much appreciate if you could post your experience with the i3 and big snowfalls this winter

        The RWD was the only reason why I’m not an i3 driver today.

        A video in a blizzard would be the cherry on top!

        Thanks in advance,

        A jealous JRMW

        1. EricP says:

          We had our first white blanket in Montreal this morning so I took my i3 for a first snow test using the winter wheel/blizak tire kit combo. I had an M3 e92 before and I thought it was very fun to drive in winter. I would never had chosen the i3 if it would have been FWD. Most people will like the fact that the DSC controls the car very well to keep it in its track as it is virtually impossible to have the car to oversteer. I tried deactivating the DSC but although it seemed to allow for the wheels to slip a little, when turning, it took control of the car anyways. I guess it will need a little bit of getting used to but for now I would say that most people will probably like the way it behaves as it feels very secure but I would have liked the option of a more “cowboy” mode to have some fun when conditions allows!

        2. I’ll definitely report on it once I’ve driven in the snow.

      2. Bill says:

        I took delivery of an i3 Mega with 20-inch sport option and ended up buying a set of Mega wheels with the Bridgestone Blizzaks.

        About $1,800 installed w/tax. Will put the 20s on this spring.

        Peace of mind on a RWD daily commuter in snow and <45-degree weather. Thanks.

  10. Manny Antunes says:

    Wow! The trolls are in force over here. I’ll stay away..

    1. Phr3d says:

      Not sure you will see this, but that is the reason that some here have a problem with one poster’s anti-BMW zealotry, that it might cause writers to hesitate to want to publish here – or in the apparent thoughts of our self-elected protector – have the unmitigated gall to publish a positive review of their i3 experience.

      Rest assured that anyone that has read more than one i3 article on this site already knows which poster to completely ignore and scroll past.

      Thanks for your article, I hope to read more.