i3

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2021 BMW i3 Overview

The BMW i3 is a compact electric car with available hybrid power. This hatchback features unique packaging that provides surprising cabin space and fun handling in a small, efficient package. The i3 was introduced for the 2015 model year, with incremental changes through the years. That’s fine, because the i3 still looks futuristic, inside and out.

On the driver’s side of the i3, a clamshell half-door setup provides access to the rear seats. The i3’s upright layout ensures plenty of headroom and up to 36.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. Up front, the i3 has a strikingly minimalist design and even the shifter has been reimagined into a pod alongside the instrument panel.

The i3 comes equipped with a 42.2-kilowatt-hou battery pack, powering a 164-horsepower electric motor. The i3s utilizes the same battery but upgrades the motor to a 181-hp unit. The i3s also features a sport-tuned suspension. Both motors are available with a 0.6-liter two-cylinder gas range extender. The all-electric i3 can travel 153 miles on a single charge. The gas engine increases range to 200 miles, though the electric-only range falls to 126 miles.

Using a 240-volt Level 2 charger can fully recharge the i3 in about seven hours. DC fast-charging can bring the battery up to 80% capacity in 40 minutes. Using a wall-style charger will only add about 3 miles for every hour. The i3 returns an EPA-estimated 113 MPGe and 100 MPGe for the range-extended model. When the electric power is exhausted, the i3 range-extended returns a combined 31 MPG.

The i3 comes equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in run-flat tires, power-folding heated side mirrors, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, automatic climate control, and a hands-free power liftgate. It also comes standard with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, operated via a rotary dial in the center console. This system includes Apple CarPlay compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity. Other options include wireless device charging, a moonroof, and a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system.

The i3 comes equipped with adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and front-and-rear parking sensors. Features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams are all available as part of a Technology Package.

Base MSRP for the 2021 BMW i3 is $44,450 and $48,300 for the i3 with the range extender. The i3s starts at $47,650 and $51,500 with the range extender. The i3 is backed by a four-year/50,000-mile warranty and the battery is backed by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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