BMW i3

BMW i3

I saw a couple of i3s in recent days, and no offense - it is beyond ugly...everything about its design is simply wrong....the Nissan Leaf looks like a Maserati in comparison. BMW customers have the right to expect more from the company that just released the ultra sexy i8. I can't believe that popular media compared the i3 to the MS! | June 13, 2014

Totally ugly indeed. Saw one tonight, and my wife said to me "what the hell is that thing?" My response, "some new shitbox that BMW designers got very wrong". Wow.

Mark K | June 13, 2014

BMW has some pretty talented engineers and designers.

When they are instructed by management to make it "not so good that it takes any 3 sales", they do their job.

The only way to design great products is to pull out all the stops to make it wonderful.

Whenever you deliberately hold back, the results aren't pretty.

BTA22 | June 13, 2014

@Mark K- speculation or are you sure on that? Are you a BMW employee?

Mark K | June 14, 2014

bta - that's simply a rational surmise.

BMW's designers did not suddenly get stupid, so why is the i3 so much uglier than their other cars?

And no BMW employee would impugn their own (hopelessly conflicted) management.

If you've followed this forum for a while, you'd know for damn sure I'm not connected to BMW.

Red Sage ca us | June 14, 2014

They sort of did what Ford was doing back in the 80s & 90s... Remember how the Escort GT was styled to be a 'little brother' (dealing with growing pains) as compared to the Mustang GT? The idea was that once you were done with the ugly duckling phase, you'd graduate to the real thing. It was... a strategy -- that didn't work.

Well, look closer, and you'll find there are lines of the BMW i3 that have been 'uglified' from the BMW i8... Almost as if they thought they must somehow 'protect' the sales of the i8 for some reason...

david.baird | June 14, 2014

I think it's deliberately like this. It's being pushed as a "funky" town car for hipsters... So it needs to be horrible...

That being said, if it was a bit more practical in terms of space then I'd probably get one for the wife...

negarholger | June 14, 2014

Engineers are not involved in the design of the most important products, that is done behind closed doors in great secrecy by select managers only.... it is like if I would try to paint the Mona Lisa.

Red Sage ca us | June 14, 2014

Do you remember the 1992 Ford Twins...?

And now the 2014 BMW Twins...

To be honest, they weren't the first to do this, and won't be the last. Other notable pairs of twins would be the Nissan Maxima and Sentra (Baby Maxima), and the Toyota Camry and Corolla (Baby Camry). Sometimes a family resemblance goes too far within an auto manufacturer's design themes.

AmpedRealtor | June 14, 2014

According to the BMW i3 forums, the i3 is faster than the M3 when accelerating from zero to 25. LOL!

Per EPA, i3 BEV has 81 mi pure electric range and i3 REx has a 72 mile pure electric range. Apparently the addition of the REx lowers your EV-only range by 11%. I assume that's due to the additional weight of the gasoline engine.

According to an i3 blogger:

"I'm a firm believer that it takes awhile to really understand what you love about the car... The things that we hate generally make themselves apparent pretty quickly with a new purchase."

Clearly this person has never driven a Tesla. The above statement must seem funny to a Model S owner. Did it take you "awhile to understand" what you loved about your Model S? I knew what I loved about the S the moment I sat in it and took it for a spin. I maintain that if you have to learn to love something over time, there wasn't much there to begin with.

There is a "how much did you pay, above or below MSRP" thread in their forums... again, humorous to anyone who owns a Model S. There are stories of dealers colluding with each other to keep the price artificially high even though there was little or no demand. People posting about i3s sitting on dealer lots unsold, but being told there is too much demand. Those who paid full MSRP are hoping to get a free keychain.

One owner bought an i3 for $2,300 below sticker, but from a dealer over 200 miles away. The new owner had to pay $280 to trailer the car back to his house and is not happy. Another owner is upset because he didn't realize until he got home that the car he bought with Nav option is missing the physical button to activate the nav. Apparently BMW shipped a bunch of cars supposedly with navigation but forgot to install the actual buttons and circuitry in the car. BMW has put a freeze on all i3 shipments until they can sort out the issue.

After reading the above (and more), I feel totally spoiled and thankful to be blessed with a Model S.

Red Sage ca us | June 14, 2014

Remember, folks: Dealers are there to protect your interests!

toby_wan_kenoby | June 14, 2014

I do like the i3, it looks better in real life than on photos. I think i3 bashing is just in fashion on this forum. No matter what, the more companies produce BEVs the better.
I will not buy one as I do like the larger range of the Tesla and need more space like in the MX.

Does anybody know anything about the i3 safety rating?

karmamule | June 14, 2014

I saw one in the parking garage I use for work, and I didn't think it looked as bad in person as in photos I'd seen. Granted the garage is dimly lit, but still....

And, Red Sage, hah yes, great examples of how dealers are ever good for us consumers!

minervo.florida | June 14, 2014

We drove an I3 today. Better than I thought, drove nice, bit jittery from left to right steering. Acceleration was nice, nothing like an S but good, better than most ICE cars. Looks were better than photos, I agree. Inside was terrible, nice seats and driving position, terrible screens and ergonomics. Needs an update, it was rushed to market, you can tell. Part of the car seems to have cheap parts.

For just the city, the wife thinks it would be great. Easy to get around in traffic, very nice for that.


AmpedRealtor | June 14, 2014

More tidbits from the i3 forums that read like something from The Onion...

On i3 locking/locking:

"When the key fob is on you, you can unlock by touching the back of the door handle. To lock, you touch the ridged area on the front of the handle. Be careful not to grip the handle when attempting to lock this way because you can inadvertently trigger the unlock action right after you've locked."

On i3 real-world range:

"Everyone asks 'so, how far can you go?'... I'd probably say 80 miles unless I use a motorway in which case 60 miles."

On i3 vs others:

"The fun happens from zero to 25, however, where the i3 beats pretty much everything to include BMW's own M3. Can the Camry Hybrid offer that level of performance purely on electrical power for the first 72 miles of operation?"

On i3 data connectivity:

"An internet connection doesn't equal full web access. You only can use a few sites or BMW widgets to pull down data such as weather forecasts, headlines, sports scores and simplified Google search."

On i3 safety features:

"Is the rear view camera worthwhile?" Apparently it's an option.

On i3 REx:

"The manual says BMW recommends Castrol. Should I assume it should have a synthetic oil (Mobil 1)? Service interval for REx is every 6 months."

"Having a low grade cheap gasoline in the REX could create gummy stuff and mess-up the injection system. Should I fire it up every now and then to keep it lubricated and prevent the fuel getting too old and manky?" i3 Owners recommend premium gasoline for their EVs...

"A prolonged climb with a depleted battery would probably require slowing a bit."

On i3 traction battery:

"If you are really worried about bringing on early degradation then monitor the battery temperature and try to keep it from exceeding 100 degrees because the heat will do more damage than anything."

On i3 sun roof:

"US cars don't come with sunroofs."

Red Sage ca us | June 14, 2014

Wait... What?!? Keep it below...100 degrees?

Wow. Just...


jordanrichard | June 14, 2014

So are the batteries in the i3 like the Leaf, air cooled? So just how does one keep the battery temp down to 100? Obviously the i3 has a battery temp gauge which means it's something of a concern for BMW.

hcwhy | June 14, 2014

BMW knows how to design an attractive car. Their motivation for making the i3 ugly is speculative, but I know what I suspect.

Brian H | June 15, 2014

Designed to compete with only non-BMW models?