2014 BMW i3

Base RWD 4-Dr Hatchback ELEC auto trans

Base RWD 4-Dr Hatchback ELEC auto trans

2014 bmw i3 Reviews and News

2014 BMW I3 Side Profile In Motion
Ann Arbor, Michigan – “Are you good?” asks my girlfriend. I nod, even though there’s just one mile of cruising range left. Wait, scratch that -- zero miles. “Are you sure?” she continues. I nod again, and then the gauge goes blank. About an hour after I ran the battery packs down and the range-extending engine switched on, the 2014 BMW i3’s two-gallon fuel tank has gone dry. Range anxiety in a range-extended EV, how about that?
2014 BMW I3 Front Three Quarter

This is an emergency

A range extender in an EV isn’t strictly speaking an emergency device, but it’s there mostly for emergencies. A little engine meekly churns and burns, and it sends a charge to the electric vehicle’s battery packs. So with a full charge, a full fuel tank, and some foresight, a range-extended EV will never leave you on the side of the road looking for an electrical outlet.
But what happens when your battery packs are drained, your fuel tank is empty, and you have hundreds of miles to go but no time for a charge? What happens when you need a range-extended electric vehicle with a 0.6-liter inline-two engine and a tiny gas tank to perform like a regular car? What happens when you have one afternoon to travel from Detroit to Chicago in a range-extended 2014 BMW i3?
2014 BMW I3 Cabin

Hipsters make velour cool again

Today, we look like well-off hipsters. My cat is standing on the back seats, poking her head out of my window, while my girlfriend and I are both wearing all-gray outfits that regrettably match. We’re badgering each other about obscure indie rock as we motor down the highway in this 2014 BMW i3, the hippest urban commuter you can buy.
The drive from Detroit to Chicago is a little less than 300 miles, and most cars make it without needing a top-off stop for the fuel tank. With a full charge and a full tank of gas, the BMW i3 says it has about 120 miles of combined range -- half from the batteries, half from the 38-hp, two-cylinder range-extender -- so it won’t make it even halfway before needing fuel.
2014 BMW I3 Side Profile 01
We’re blissfully crawling through rush-hour traffic, gliding slowly and silently along in the slow lane. With its windows up, the i3 is crypt quiet (except for the obscure indie rock coming through the $800 Harman/Kardon audio system, of course). We can easily have a conversation, which is centered mostly around the i3’s eccentric and ecofriendly interior, as the dashboard is trimmed in open-pore eucalyptus wood, the wool cloth of the seat upholstery is trimmed in olive green leaf–tanned leather, and the floormats are velour.
2014 BMW I3 Driving Range Display

Gone with the wind

I’m watching the i3’s electric-energy meter fall toward zero and waiting for the range extender to start up and break the silence we’ve been enjoying. The meter hits zero, and … nothing. Then the fuel gauge goes from 62 miles of range to 61 miles. I barely notice the range-extender engine as it comes to life, its soft hum blending seamlessly with the wind noise as traffic thins and the BMW gets up to cruising speed.
The car’s driving dynamics haven’t changed whatsoever, although I’m not quite sure why I thought they would, since the range extender has no mechanical connection to the driven wheels. I put my foot down, and the i3 smoothly shoots forward. (You never have to wait for a single-speed transmission to downshift.) The range-extended 2014 BMW i3 has narrow tires with 6-inch treads in front and 7-inch treads in the rear, yet it doesn’t wander aimlessly across the lane in search of traction and neither does it seem to be affected by light crosswinds. This EV is actually pretty nimble, which is not at all what I expected from a hatchback that’s 5 feet tall and wears bicycle tires.
2014 BMW I3 Side Profile 02

“Paw, is dem aliens?!”

I guess men and women from the middle of Michigan don’t get out much, seeing as every rusty Pontiac Sunfire that passes us has a camouflage-clad person pasted to its passenger-side window and gawking at the i3 like it drove straight out of Area 51. My girlfriend and I are getting a kick out of it, so much so that I don’t notice how little fuel we have left. I go quiet, and she asks what’s wrong. “Well,” I say, “we’re out of gas.”
Past experience has taught me that a car with an “empty” fuel tank has about a tenth the range of a car with a full tank. (This is my theory, based only on my own flawed observations.) Let’s say you drive a Honda Civic with a cruising range of 350 miles. When the needle covers the “E” on the fuel gauge, I’d estimate you have about 35 miles before you’re screwed. So since we have a BMW i3 with a cruising range on gas of 62 miles, my theory suggest that we have an emergency cruising range of, like, 6 miles. At best.
2014 BMW I3 Filling Up

Three fill-ups later

Spirited driving -- first up an off-ramp, then through a just-red stoplight, and finally through a parking lot to a gas station -- gets us to a fuel pump without stalling. I feed the BMW i3 just over two gallons of premium (which costs me $6), and pull back onto the road. We travel another 60-odd miles before filling up again, and then another 60-odd miles before filling up once more, and then finish the last leg to Chicago.
We arrive just after sunset, and I take a second to calculate our fuel economy for the trip. Factoring in one full charge and four full tanks of gas, we averaged 38 mpg. Not too shabby, considering I forced this carbon-fiber ute with a motorcycle engine and a whole mess of battery packs to go wholly outside of its comfort zone, which in turn forced me out of my comfort zone and caused me to have range anxiety in a range-extended EV.

2014 BMW i3 w/Range Extender Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $46,150/$52,550 base/as tested
Engine: 0.6L DOHC 8-valve I-2 /38 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 41 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Motor: Synchronous AC/170 hp, 184 lb-ft
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 4-passenger, mid-motor, mid-engine, RWD hatchback
EPA Mileage: 39 mpg (combined), 117 mpge
Suspension F/R: Strut-type, coil springs/multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R: Vented discs/discs
Tires F/R: 155/60R-20 / 175/55R-20 Bridgestone Ecopia EP500
L x W x H: 157.8 x 69.9 x 62.1 in
Wheelbase: 101.2 in
Headroom F/R: 39.6/37.2 in
Legroom F/R: 40.5/31.9 in
Shoulder Room F/R: 53.6/49.2 in
Cargo Room F/R: 36.9/15.1 cu ft
Towing: N/A
Weight: 3,130 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 45/55%
0-60 MPH: 7.8 sec
1/4-Mile: N/A
Top Speed: 93 mph
2014 BMW I3 EDrive Passengers Three Quarters In Motion
There are a million bicycles in Amsterdam, and the people pedal upright, full-fender Omafiet roadsters at a stately pace as they travel around the city on the old cobblestone streets. It's an alternate universe of transportation, clean and green and friendly. It's the perfect place to drive the 2014 BMW i3 for the first time.
Amsterdam is the city of tomorrow, when futurists say that 70 percent of the worldwide population will live in dense metropolitan areas like this. Here the questions of renewable energy, sustainability and affordable personal mobility are serious ones. That's why this city has a highly developed infrastructure designed to support electric vehicles.
It's not too likely that any city in the U.S. will resemble Amsterdam any time soon, but the big change is only a couple decades away. And this is what the 2014 BMW i3 is about. When it goes on sale in the U.S. next spring, it will be a genuine look into the future, a vision of a cultural shift that will make EVs practical on a daily basis.
Let's Build an EV in the Old Barn!
Of course, the 2014 BMW i3 has been a long time arriving, since the project began at BMW in 2007. A team of the best and the brightest was assembled, most of whom probably thought that their careers were being thoughtlessly derailed. And finally everyone had to come together and invent a car that is neither made of conventional materials nor even assembled in a conventional way.
As it turns out, the i project has created a kind a cultural shift within BMW, as if it were a combination of the NASA space program and a community theater project in the old barn. As such projects go, it has been big, it has been expensive, and no one really knows how it will all turn out. It's a new car company, not just a new car.
So far, things look good for the BMW i3's introduction into Europe this fall, since there are 8000 pre-orders. (BMW dealers in the U.S. will begin taking orders in November.)
Not Grandmother's Bicycle
The 2014 BMW i3 looks the part of the future, since the BMW stylists self-consciously pursued a design strategy that made the car look like a science experiment, not just a conventional car with an battery-powered electric drivetrain like the 2009 Mini E and the 2012 BMW Active-E.
While it looks a bit shocking to Americans raised within the confines of the typical, homogeneous residential suburb, the i3 seems perfectly at home in a European city like Amsterdam, where there are dramatic expressions of hyper-intensive design everywhere you look – the colorful, plastic-y forms of the modernist housing along the shores of the inland lakes and canals, the small, city-friendly cars, and even the street signs. The BMW i3 looks like a plastic tool that you might find in a bin at Ikea, and we mean that in a good way.
From the outside, this 2635-pound, rear-wheel-drive car looks substantial, though it measures only 157.4 inches long, 69.9 inches wide and 62.1 inches tall on a wheelbase of 101.2 inches. A range of six colors, four trim levels and four different wheels ensure that the car has a strong streak of individuality.
Meanwhile, the interior materials look premium, despite the fact that most have been chosen for sustainability. A 6.5-inch electronic screen furnishes instrumentation in front of the driver, while a 10.2-inch screen displays audio, navigation and the usual iDrive functions. The front seats have slim profiles, yet prove very comfortable, while the rattle-free clamshell doors provide easy access to the 2-passenger bench seat in the rear. The step-in height is just a smidgen tall because of the 96 lithium-ion batteries packaged beneath the aluminum platform (made with Coca-Cola cans from America!) beneath your feet.
Built from a fabricated aluminum platform that supports a carbon-fiber superstructure, the BMW i3 is a lightweight, structurally rigid, airbag-equipped automobile, not a cheap transportation pod.
Quick, Tell Woody Allen That His Car Is Here
Driving the BMW i3 is utterly remarkable. Remarkable. It expresses the all the characteristic driving traits of a BMW, only in an EV context.
The interior is as hushed as an office in BMW's famous headquarters building in Munich, yet it's also far from the inert, noiseless environment that passes for quietness at some car companies. Once you start the car with the button on the right-hand control stalk and then twist the end of the stalk to engage Drive, the car quickly moves forward as you'd expect, yet the takeoff is surprisingly seamless, even for an EV. There's no transmission funny business since one gear ratio does all the work, while the suspension action is very carefully managed to minimize fore-and-aft rocking motion and both firmly and predictably manage side-to-side roll. This car never bobs around, even on rough cobblestone streets or the narrow bridges across the old canals.
Just like the Mini E and BMW Active-E, the i3's acceleration pedal will trigger lots of regenerative braking when you lift off, so you typically drive the car largely with the right pedal, using the brakes only to make a complete stop. The smooth action of the electric-assist power steering is superior to what we've experienced in BMW's conventional cars. The ride from the tall, narrow 155/70R-19 tires is resilient (tall tires roll more easily over bumps), the wide track ensures predictable cornering grip, and the astonishing turning circle of just 32.3 feet means you can thread the car easily through crowded streets. And even at motorway speed, heavy crosswinds don't affect the BMW i3.
The BMW i3 gets to 100 km/hr (62 mph) in 7.2 seconds on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 93 mph. The combination of a 22 kW/hr battery pack and an innovative, hybrid synchronous electric motor delivers a cruising range of 80 – 100 miles. If you need more range, an optional 34-hp, 650cc two-cylinder engine will charge the batteries sufficiently to get you 185 mi.
If Woody Allen were re-making Sleeper, his classic comic movie about the future, the BMW i3 would combine the coolness of his electric hovercraft and the practicality of his VW Beetle.
But Wait, There's More
In a way, all this is to be expected. The Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius PHEV got to the party some time ago, after all. But what is unexpected is the way that BMW has carefully considered the EV ownership experience and figured out a way to help make it practical for ordinary people. The result is a combination of electronic connectivity and ownership mobility services that directly addresses the lingering qualms about EVs, and also happens to create a little industry of EV services that could become a profit center for BMW (or even any car company).
Worried about recharging? There's an on-board charger that gives you a full charge from a wall socket in 8 hours or a full allotment of juice from a quick-charge unit in 30 minutes. Need to find a recharging station? BMW connectivity connects you the network of public chargers and allows you to reserve recharging time.
Worried about getting to grandma's distant house for the holiday celebration? BMW connectivity can formulate a long-distance trip across several different transportation platforms (bus, tram, railroad, or airplane) to get you there in time for dinner. Want to go to Paris for the weekend? Drive the i3 to your BMW dealer, where he will rent you a conventional car (probably a BMW diesel) for the trip.
Want to figure out the true cost of ownership? BMW can fiddle with the calculus with the skill of the sneaky F&I guy at the nearby car dealership, but at least you'll figure out that while the purchase price is high, fuel and maintenance costs are low, plus the hardware is unlikely to wear out anytime soon (the battery pack carries a warranty of 8 yrs/62,000 miles). And this means that the BMW i3's efficiency will eventually cover the expense of purchase and ownership.
Maybe It's a Dream
Of course, it's easy to talk about connectivity to the EV infrastructure in Amsterdam, but such an infrastructure isn't coming to America any time soon.
But the larger point here is that BMW has thought hard about the whole EV thing and come up with a plan that will support a BMW i3 owner through the whole EV experience. This is to say, BMW wants to be your partner in EV ownership, not just a hardware supplier. This is a new thought, and it's just the future-oriented thing that we expect from BMW. Just as important, BMW has created a business plan that should enable it to earn enough money to stay in the EV business, which is another entirely new thing.
When the 2014 BMW i3 goes on sale in the U.S. in May 2014 at an MSRP of $41,350, there will be no magical flowering of electric recharging stations on every street corner. But we think many people will be persuaded that an EV with a range of 80 miles can be a part of the way they live, and this is probably a good thing for everybody. Moreover, we can get the EV conversation away from both the EV purists who think every EV should have a 500-mile range like a conventional car (and damn the expense of the batteries), and also refute the BMW purists who assert that any car that departs from their fossilized ideas of BMW tradition is heresy.
The BMW i3 is a car that is modern, one that embraces the future. Isn't this what a BMW is supposed to be about?

2014 BMW i3

On Sale: May 2014
Base Price: $42,275 (est.)
Motor: hybrid synchronous electric; 22-kW/hr battery pack
Power: 125 kW (170 hp); 184 lb-ft of torque
Cruising Range: 80 – 100 miles
Drive: Rear-wheel
Curb Weight: 2635 lbs
Rinspeed Budii Concept Side In Motion 2
What happens when you take a BMW i3 and pack it with a dizzying amount of autonomous driving technology? You get the Rinspeed Budii, which is set to debut at the upcoming Geneva auto show with wheel-well-filling 19-inch alloys and a wide body kit.
Bmw I3 Superbowl Clip 03
In 1994, just as the internet was taking shape, Today Show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel had a confusing on-air moment related to an email address and the “@” symbol. “What is internet, anyway?” Gumbel asks.
VW BMW Express Charging 2
BMW and Volkswagen announced a partnership with ChargePoint aimed toward installing and developing charging stations in heavily-traveled areas on the East and West coasts. The initial plan aims at 100 vehicle charging stations split between well-travelled thoroughfares.
2014 BMW I3 EDrive Front View In Motion Low 1
Driving a modern electric car usually requires a host of usernames and passwords if you want to take advantage of the latest integrated smartphone apps. But those same usernames and passwords can make the high-tech tools impractical -- even unusable -- during a casual press-car drive. We tend not to have such electric cars long enough to try all the connectivity features. To overcome this, I recently spent a week in a friend’s 2014 BMW i3 Range Extender (REx), complete with login credentials for all the extras, so I could immerse myself as an “owner” of the quirky electron-powered hatchback.

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2014 BMW I3 Specifications

Quick Glance:
0.0L ELECEngine
170 hp @ 4800rpm
184 ft lb of torque
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Unlimited miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Recall Date
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling a certain model year BMW i3 vehicle manufactured March 31, 2014, and certain 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop vehicles manufactured February 2, 2014 to May 30, 2014. The affected vehicles may have been manufactured with an air bag inflator that was not assembled correctly. This could cause the air bag to not deploy properly in the event of an accident.
If the air bag deploys improperly in the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the air bags, the seat occupant may be at an increased risk of injury.
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front passenger side air bag, free of charge. The recall began in September 2014. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.
Potential Units Affected
BMW of North America, LLC

NHTSA Rating Front Driver
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NHTSA Rating Rear Side
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NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
IIHS Front Small Overlap

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $41,860 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent