BMW M Fan Buys i3

NOV 15 2014 BY STAFF 22

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.

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22 Comments on "BMW M Fan Buys i3"

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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… Read more »

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.

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

When will it end?

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.

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… Read more »

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

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.

“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.

track cars = wack cars

Good luck Manny. The i3 is a great car.


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.

James- 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… Read more »

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.

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?)

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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

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.