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Quick Specs
Make
BMW
Model/Variant
i3 REX (range extension)
Engine
125kW/250Nm electric motor & 28kW, 650cc two-cylinder petrol range-extender
Price
$63,900 before on-road costs
Warranty
eight-year/100,000km battery warranty
See the full specs Read the full review

So, where did you go on your date?

I took the BMW i3 out for a day of shopping and boy, does it turn heads. Luckily I'm not the jealous type because there was a lot of ogling from passers-by, mostly due to its cute and quirky looks, and also because it's new to Australia. We were also frequently interrupted by people wanting to know more about this exotic looking creature.

Ideal first date?

Something classy and sophisticated and certainly not run-of-the-mill... perhaps along the sustainability line. A drive (not too far!) out to a restaurant or cafe on the fringes of town that uses produce grown on the premises and supports local fresh produce suppliers.

Hot or not?

This is where it gets confusing. I would say cute, quirky, striking, intriguing, compelling or eye-catching before I'd call it hot.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

It's very funky and quite unique. Using eco-friendly materials was a specific focus during development, and there are elements made of plant matter, natural wood and carbon-fibre sourced from a hydro-powered processing plant. It has BMW's iDrive system that is intuitive and easy to use with a large screen set on the dash, plus there's a second smaller screen behind the steering wheel replacing the usual instrument panel.

There are only four seats, the rear is accessed through the suicide doors that are very cool! There isn't a great deal of room in the back but this is a small car and it's comfortable considering its limitations. The driving position is quite high and it feels almost like driving a sub-compact SUV.

Standout features?

The whole entire look and feel of the i3 is something new and exciting. The materials used inside are interesting and the suicide doors add a definite fun-factor.

The fact that it's been built from the ground up to be an EV is also worth a high-five.

Annoying habits?

It seems to be difficult to get the driving position right. It may just feel odd because you do sit a bit higher than you'd expect in a small car.

The front door needs to open to allow the rear door to open, but the front seatbelts are attached to the doorframe - no quick drive-by kerbside collections of extra passengers.

Ready for a family?

This car seems more suited to singles or couples who would only use the rear seats occasionally. While you could fit a couple of kids in the back - and it's got a surprisingly large boot - it's not your typical family car.

I would be interested to find out how a small family found it over a period of time because i'm a bit on the fence with this question.

High maintenance?

Purely for the electric vehicle factor, yes. The range extender with the small petrol engine offers peace-of-mind but you'll still need to ensure its kept charged up. It's not hard, but it would be an additional daily chore.

As I've mentioned the materials used on the dash, doors etc inside are unique. I'd feel the need to pedantically clean because I wouldn't want to test how they handle spills or that build up of dust and grime that slowly infiltrates every nook and cranny if you don't stay on top of it.

The obvious benefit is that fuel costs can be kept to a minimum - or nothing with the full EV variant.

Any deal-breakers?

No. It's perfect if you want a head-turner with a passion for helping the environment.

It does tend to get a bit aggressive with the regenerative braking, but that's easy enough to get used to and reduces the amount of foot induced braking you need to do.

It drives incredibly well with enough grunt, it looks great and makes you feel good.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

I'm looking forward to spending more time together. While I enjoy being with something that attracts attention, the novelty could wear off as practical lifestyle elements come into play.

But I certainly am open to an ongoing relationship, it could be a case of Mr Right Now rather than Mr Right.

Keeping your options open?

We're seeing more and more EV options looking for a partner in life. The Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius and Holden Volt are all electric or hybrid options.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

Anyone with an environmentally conscious outlook that doesn't mind a car with a bit of character.






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