BMW Ups Incentives On i3 – Puts Up To $2,000 On The Hood




Following a few months of sales in the 300-unit range, the BMW i3 had a breakout August (1,025 sold), followed by a stellar September (1,022 sold).

The uptick in sales can be directly linked to BMW improving the lease deals on the i3.

Now, BMW is upping the ante even more.

As Manny Antunes, BMW client adviser at JMK BMW in New Jersey tells us:

For the month of October BMW has left the increased residuals in place as well as existing money factors/interest rates.  However they have added the i3 to the innovation credit list as follows:

  • i3 BEV $2,000 credit on top of everything in place

  • i3 REx $1,000 credit on top of everything in place

Of particular interest is that the BEV gets more cash on the hood than the REx.  This is clearly due to the REx being in higher demand in the U.S. and linked to the fact that BEV inventories are significantly higher than REx.  BMW initially overestimated demand for the BEV version and now is trying to even out supply.

Antunes adds:

“Needless to say the programs are as aggressive as they’re going to get from now till the end of the year.”

So, maybe now is the time to buy that i3 you’ve been considering.

Lastly, typical lease rates are now as follows:

  • i3 BEV – $369 per month for 36 months with $4,044 due at signing
  • i3 REx: $$439 per month for 36 months with $4,644  due at signing

Hat tip to Manny Antunes of JMK BMW in Springfield Township, New Jersey!!!

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33 Comments on "BMW Ups Incentives On i3 – Puts Up To $2,000 On The Hood"

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“Of particular interest is that the BEV gets more cash on the hood than the REx. This is clearly due to the REx being in higher demand in the U.S”

Definitely validates EREV as a great concept.

Or it validates the 200+ mile EPA AER concept.

Keep it comin down BMW. Get down to Leaf price and you will sell a boatload of em.

Question: does the $1k/2k credit apply to lease deals as well?

If so, they have just been made seriously better, esp. the BEV deal (will now be net $2k down).

Anyway, one thing’s for sure: the German automakers are playing in the EV game for real.


The hood is so embarrassing that they had to cover it up with that white covering. And with cash.

LOL. Is there a requirement that electric cars have to be ugly???

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Only if you wish they’d go away and die.

Or they could have given it a usable battery capacity of 28 kwh like the Merc B-class ED instead of its 18.8 kwh usable, which is less than the Leaf, and charged $5,000-$7,000 more than the current MSRP and sold them like crazy. They easily could have extended the wheelbase dimensions to accommodate the larger battery and with the i3’s lighter chassis it would have given it close to an EPA range of about 120 miles. Then they wouldn’t be offering cash to move them.


More battery!

Yep. They REALLY need to provide an OPTION for a larger battery. Get on it, BMW engineers. Surely you can figure out a way to stuff some batteries in that space where the REx goes.

Thumbs up. Great idea. That space is empty on the BEV version.

I’m just glad that BMW is trying.

I think that the suicide doors, the skinny tires, and the RWD were three decisions that hurt the i3 significantly. It would have been nice to have seen a BMW product with normal doors and tires and FWD or even better AWD.

Over the last decade sales of lower level luxury cars across several brands exploded once FWD and AWD was offered.

Can BMW improve? Yes. But overall the i3 is a great car and fun to drive.

I’m nervous about the BMW X5 PHEV
I’m not sure that the X5 PHEV can go up against the Tesla X leading to poor sales of the X5 PHEV, which will send the wrong message to BMW.

I expect Cayenne, X5 and XC90 PHEVs sales will all disappoint the market. I just don’t think it’s wise at this juncture to directly challenge Tesla in this segment.

I agree with you on the i3’s suicide doors – one reason I am waiting to test the e-Golf. But the same can be said for the Model X – I wouldn’t want an SUV to which I can’t attach a roof rack.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I’d be fine with hitch-mounted racks and/or small trailers instead of unaerodynamic roof carriers.

A trailer for carrying my ocean kayaks is a royal pain in the ass since it’s a short trip to the beach and parking is very limited, not to mention the extra toll I’d have to pay each way for the trailer’s additional axle. For carrying bikes on a SUV, I much prefer a hitch mounted rack.

Why are you “nervous” about the X5 PHEV? That is an odd depiction, possibly alluding to your allegiance to BMW. What part of competition makes you “nervous”. I am personally hoping ALL ICE MANUFACTURERS GET A BIT NERVOUS ( like GM hiring spies to keep an eye on disruptor, Tesla )that Tesla will gain market share, and then try to compete. Competition is the only true impetus that forces change. We can’t count on government regulation, nor osmosis for change in an industry deeply ensconced in the past and past high profit mechanisms like infernally-combusted automobiles.

I’m happy you are “nervous” for the success of X5 PHEV. Perhaps BMW could do better and make a true competitor to Model X. Perhaps we Americans can buy American-made products that not only compete with established foreign brands, but exceed their abilities.


please keep shouting, and wondering why no one reads your rants..

FWD is the worst thing to happen to cars. The only reason it came about is that it is cheaper

Truer words have never been spoken.

Meh. FWD is great in snow.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Because the mass of the engine rests on the drive wheels, leading to greater traction. It also allows for more interior space due to lack of driveshaft.

The off-balance weight bias leads to understeer the rest of the time though, and using the drive wheels to steer lead to both reduced traction during emergency maneuvers as well as everyday torque steer.

Thankfully, EVs negate all these bad things, while keeping or improving on the good things. Battery placement in a dedicated chassis is flexible and allows for perfect balance, while motors are compact enough to be located in back without impinging on interior space. The ideal drivetrain layout is pretty much what Tesla has built.

Yeah, the engine weight helps get traction. But also having FWD makes people less like to spin out in the snow. I realize this takes away the ability to ‘drifting’, doing donuts, and other racer fun but for mom driving her kids to school on a snowy day, FWD may help her from spinning out. (This all comes from someone that grew up in Minnesota.)

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Again, the benefit in traction of FWD relies mainly on the unbalance of mass over the front wheels. It also doesn’t hurt that FWD vehicles tend to be power-limited vs RWD. However, in snowy and wet conditions, I’ve had my own scares with FWD understeer that might have been a bit risky with RWD if I hadn’t been familiar with RWD handling in inclement weather conditions (steer into the skid, etc).

FWD without a disproportionately-high mass over it doesn’t confer nearly as much traction assistance, and frankly, if you want traction, you go with RWD with a mid/rear weight bias which grants additional traction at launch do to weight transfer. The problem then is oversteer, which many if not most drivers these days are unfamiliar with, but which is easier to deal with IMO.

BTW, in icy conditions in a FWD car, it can be just as scary when you lift off the accelerator and you start ‘reverse torque steering’, and when you brake and steer at that point it can get squirrelly. You can also spin out an AWD vehicle in snow.

+ Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine!!!

Funny you say that.. I’d rather have a front wheel drive any day. That is one thing I do not like about Tesla and BMW i3.

Contrary to public opinion ( 🙂 ), I would be delighted if i3 suddenly became a sales success. It has everything against it, though, as several of you have pointed out – BMW made i3 very quirky, and expensive – so counting on it to thrust BMW dead into competition with Tesla is a stretch – a big stretch.

I think all of you with a bit of a affinity for BMW need to lighten up – especially when Elon Musk chuckled under his breath when i3 was introduced. He chuckled but then said he applauded BMW for trying, and hoped they would continue on, and not give up. i3 just isn’t built for wide public acceptance. It’s very expensive for what it provides as a city car and commuter vehicle. It’s not only quirky and expensive, but has distinct limitations. Give i3 a fighting chance by ditching the $4,000 motorcycle engine and awkward doors – and adding some serious range. Say 200 miles or more. Then, and only then will BMW find wider success with this truly niche product.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I3 may be a good product, but its niche is pretty darn small. I only hope BMW is gearing up for a mainstream EV soon, but I reckon Tesla will be ahead by 5+ years for the foreseeable future unless CFRP scales to volume manufacture.

I hope they sell a lot of them. I’ve now seen several on the roads. But I still think it will be an uphill battle to the price, range, and looks. Interior is very nice though.

Am I the only one that prefers the motorcycle engine with 80-ish miles of AER? I find it to be far more useful than a 200 mile EV. The 80-ish miles will handle 99% of my driving. The 2 cylinder engine may not be perfect, but I could essentially drive the car anywhere as long as I don’t mind stopping every hour for gas. 200 miles of range still won’t cut it with today’s limited charging infrastructure, especially if it isn’t going to be compatible with Tesla’s superchargers.

But wouldn’t it have been nice to have an OPTION for a larger battery pack? I’d rather have $4K of more batteries than the 2-cylinder motorcycle engine. Yeah, you lose the ability to repeated refuel with gas quickly. But you’d get a much longer range with full performance. If I were driving much further, I’d rent a car or something instead of filling up every hour.

The door design alone limits the i3 appeal and demand, then the styling , then just the fact it’s an EV.
ccs over chademo.
It’s just to many obstacles
Lower prices will help , but in the end a longer range more conventional style EV would have made a better safer choice, they still could have used all the advanced materials to lower the weight.

How about BMW start with giving their customers the full $7500 tax credit as capitalized reduction on their leases. It is BS they are keeping $2K-$3K+ of it, unlike other manufactures who lease EVs.

OK, so now it costs $47k instead of $49k – doesn’t really move the needle for people considering an i3.

The real effect is to make it that much more painful to spring for the REx, hoping to skew sales toward the BEV. Might work…. Or it might just annoy people who need an REx, which effectively now costs over $6k.