i3 BMW Fail

i3 BMW Fail

I just read a first impression review on CNET (

Range of 80 to 100 miles, ugly, optional engine? What is good about this thing.. better then a horse I guess.
This yet another example of a manufacture that cannot get the engineering right so they put the burden on marketing. Hey this is all that people need.. you don't need to go over 100 miles.. no..

Good job BMW, in one fell swoop you have given late night comedians and the oil industry something to talk about.

AmpedRealtor | 29 juli 2013

How can the i3 be a "fail" when it won't ship until next year? No EV is a fail if it can raise awareness to our need for sustainable transport and engages consumers in a conversation about the pros and cons of the technology. While the i3 does not target the same market as the Model S, it also costs half as much and carries the weight of the BMW brand.

I wish BMW, Ford, Mitsubishi and Nissan all the success in the world with their EVs.

Mark K | 29 juli 2013

Wow, that's ugly.

They could have made it a lot nicer by ditching the dark hood and side notch at the rear windows.

Nice fresh flourishes in the interior, but still stuck in iDrive instead of iPhone touch technology.

BMW will move some because of their heritage, but I don't see this as any runaway hit.

The coup de grace is the performance - as good as a Leaf ... 3 years later.

Model S looks even better after seeing this.

AmpedRealtor | 29 juli 2013

Yes, the more cars like i3 and Leaf and i-Miev and the better the Model S will sell! :)

tobi_ger | 29 juli 2013

I think right now the biggest mistake of them is the choice of color to highlight (cough) the shape and doors of the i3. If the car were any single color, it would look a bit better to me.

cloroxbb | 29 juli 2013

It may be ugly, but IMO it is way more appealing than the Nissan Leaf.

I actually like the internal styling on it a bit, but I would still much rather have the Model S.

ThomasK | 29 juli 2013

Who would buy this?

Sanjuro | 29 juli 2013

@ThomasK "Who would buy this?"

Let's see. BMW must have targeted the market segment who can't make up their minds whether to get a Volt, Leaf or i-MiEV, so they mashed the designs together (this might explain the mismatched rear windows), and as an afterthought, slapped the BMW grille on the front.

Ugliest. BMW. Ever. Comparing this to a horse is to insult its behind.

Jewsh | 29 juli 2013

It's a shame but hardly a surprise. This vehicle has had many leaks regarding the design and it hasn't grown on me at all. The powertrain could have been more like the Model S', too... all in all it may sell to folks who need the validation of a BMW badge, but it's nowhere near as good as a Tesla.

TommyBoy | 29 juli 2013

You could probably fit a lot of clowns in that thing....

carlk | 29 juli 2013

One reason it's hard for established company that dominates the market to compete with disruptive company is they also don't want to help push the acceptance of the new product that will cannibalize their current product. BMW put a lot of effort in the i3 but in the end it's still a half arsed try with an ugly product.

Jewsh | 29 juli 2013

@ carlk:
"One reason it's hard for established company that dominates the market to compete with disruptive company is they also don't want to help push the acceptance of the new product that will cannibalize their current product"

Agreed. It's as if BMW executives said, "Make it good, but not *that* good..."

DTsea | 29 juli 2013

Hey everyone go easy and look at what the i3 is trying to do.

First- it has a skateboard architecture like a Tesla (flat battery pack on bottom, motor in rear.

Second- it has an all composite body, lots of investment at BMW to figure out how to do that in automotive context at good cost. Note there is no B-pillar, that's why it has only one door- so easy to get in back seat. Pretty clever.

Appreciate what they have done well. They are trying to make a car that works well in European cities, so it has to be smaller... but still seats 4. Pretty cool in many ways.

According to public info they spent $2B to develop it... so clearly there is a suite of capabilities they intend to leverage forward.

shop | 29 juli 2013

The other thing it doesn't have is storage space. Doesn't look like any storage up front and the tiny back storage is directly over the electric and ICE motors. I'm sure it won't get hot back there :-) | 29 juli 2013

I agree with @AmpedRealtor - we should be cheering for EV success in general. Philosophical reasons aside, the only way we are going to see a build-out of infrastructure and a shift in legislative bias is if EVs grow beyond their current niche.

Also, as a Tesla owner, the last thing I want to see is Tesla not have any legit competition to keep them on their toes.


Brian H | 29 juli 2013

First deliveries in Nov. Some interesting Bloomberg interviews etc. on this page:

shop | 29 juli 2013

Well, when a major car maker actually builds a nice EV car, I'll be the first to cheer them on. Until then though...

It is kind of wierd though. It's as if all the majors decided the sub-compact car segment is the ONLY car segment that would want a BEV. What about SUVs? What about trucks? What about sports cars? What about full size cars? Minivans? Don't tell be urban driving eco conscious soccer moms wouldn't line up to buy a totally green minivan.

deric | 29 juli 2013

I feel so pleasant to see the i3 came out today...because it looks so ugly and i am so sure i3 is simply not QUALIFY to compete with us!!!

TMS is still the best and Bimma no even close to! hehe :)

tonysled | 29 juli 2013

The Pontiac Aztec lives... maybe it will sell better as a bmw ev?

Cindy I II III | 29 juli 2013

OMG it's ugly. Why such insistence in linking EV to ugliness? However, BMW is a good name that could possess the power to make ugly the new beautiful. I'm still trying to understand why people go so crazy over Loui Vuitton bags...

Had hoped that Tesla be mentioned on the video. Oh well, TM is a class of its own.

$2B, when will i3 platform turn profitable? I guess Gen III Tesla will be out before then.

Jolinar | 29 juli 2013

Actually I think it's not that bad, it could be much better for sure, but I'd said it's Leaf-like appealing with the difference that BMW could have the strenght to make it new beautiful as Cindy123 said.

What appeals to me is that CFRP body. Its very light and can be also easily repaired after crash accident. Would be interesting to know what is the true cost of it. Is it more expensive than aluminum of Model S body?

However that 80-100 mile range sux really hard for BMW brand :-(

jbunn | 29 juli 2013

Well, it's good the Pontiac Aztec designers finally found work.

It also reminds me of that station wagon Chevy Chase drove in Family Vacation. "You think you hate it now. Wait till you drive it."

The BMW I DO like is the i8. That's a nice looking car, but it's a shame it's a hybrid. I assume it's going to have most of the constraints of the fisker. Too much stuff under the hood for a small car.

Kimscar | 29 juli 2013

The problem that BMW has is what Tesla is working on for Gen III. The battery needs to have a range of 150 to 200 miles and a lower cost to keep the car in the $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 range. I'm pulling for the Tesla engineers to get that done but it's no easy task.
Personally I don't find the BMW ugly as some do. Neither do I particularly think it looks that great.
The MS is a think of beauty but it is more than twice as expensive depending on how you configure it, so a different category of car.
I can't wait for the Gen III just to know that the battery range cost has been resolved.

Andrew18 | 29 juli 2013

Face it. This car fell off the stainless steel ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down! I think they intentionally made it ugly so consumers would not want to buy it. I can't believe, knowing the BMW design team's history, that they would ever design a car that looked like that without being collectively insane or told to do so.

Chevy Volt ads are sparce, and only consist of mostly unattractive pictures of an anemic looking pale green car on a white background. There are never the typically successful mechanisms used in successful ad campaigns like "beauty shots", families having fun, sexy girls, etc.etc.that are seen normally in the auto I have a Volt (and my TMS) love it, but it is obvious people dont know much about the car based on GM pushing an agressive, well designed ads campaign to sell GM's new invention and advancement in technology.

Also, Face it, the Leaf and Volt are pretty ugly cars (though the Volt is not as bad) and intentionally designed so. They have a limited color pallet as well. Do we really need those ugly nodules on the headlights to "diminish wind and air resistance? Obviously you can do it with a cooler light design, as demonstrated by Tesla.

I think it's all pretty selfish and disgusting for those running the big 3 to not offer what's best for the consumers and the environment! Everyone I know who has them would never go back. I hate that corporations can manipulate people that way!

KOL2000 | 29 juli 2013

In my view the Chevy volt already has this beaten. Looks better and has 300 mile range (news agencies keep putting volt incorrectly in same category at leaf which it is not). Next gen Volt will blow i3 out of the water even more.

I agree with OP this is a massive fail. Reminds me of 2007 when new blackberry with physical keyboard was coming out at same time as iPhone.

ziggy | 29 juli 2013

I don't know why we should cheer every single EV that comes down the trail. For one thing when it doesn't work as a design then the market will crucify this thing.. and then it makes all EV's look bad, right or wrong.

Bad design should be ridiculed and there should be shame in it.
5 Years and 2B and this is what they came up with? I think they must be exaggerating somewhere, I just can't imagine where.

Maybe BMW management got punked by this car design..

pebell | 29 juli 2013

@ziggy: wait, you're telling me you don't like that car either?? There's just no pleasing some people! ;-D

Brian H | 29 juli 2013

The prices quoted for i3 and MS were 41K and 76K -- both base, and then the packages pile on. BMW's packages are reputedly pricey for this car, but not yet revealed.

Brian H | 29 juli 2013

49K with "extender" 2-cylinder putt-putt.

appljd | 29 juli 2013

BMW will offer you a ICE SUV (up to 2 weeks a year) when you need to go a long trip (vacation). What a sweet deal ! :-)

unclegeek | 29 juli 2013

One word. Fugly

Jolinar | 29 juli 2013

@Brian H

whaaaaat??? $8k for that range extender? where that you got that number please? I just want to verify it... For $8000 I can buy whole new super low-end car.

OK, now I think they fell from a tree and hit the ground very hard :-D

bigez1 | 29 juli 2013

Yeah, MotorTrend isn't exactly crazy about the i3 either....

bob | 29 juli 2013

This I3 BMW reminds me of a Paralysed Bulldog. I am blinded by it's sheer ugliness. It will probably be built very well so we will have to put up with this mutt for a very long time. Had BMW been smart Munich would just take a basic 3 series coupe shape built of a mix of steel and aluminum. 60 kw battery 280 horse electric motor. 200 plus mile range, and of course a frunk in the front. Basic BMW interior with sunroof to give it some sex appeal Dark metalic grey tan interior. 50-55K build. Would have sold quite well. I would not be caught in the i3. I do not understand this horrible lower end EV styling. It is making a statement. Look at me I have no taste....

LiteWait | 29 juli 2013

BMW iFail

Cindy I II III | 29 juli 2013 Your last sentence is hilarious - exact feeling here. Is there a psychologist on this forum? I know beautiful women who tried to look bad so that they could be taken more seriously. What kind of syndrome is this irrational EV ugliness?

nwdiver93 | 29 juli 2013

"We believe the vision of traditional automakers is being clouded by
their own massively complex enterprises and the risks of disruption to
core, legacy Internal Combustion Engine intellectual property and
assets" -Deutsche Bank analyst

The i3 is just further proof that 15 years after EV1 the "traditional" automakers still want to kill the electric car. This is why Tesla is so important.

bigez1 | 29 juli 2013
bob | 29 juli 2013

"The i3 is just further proof that 15 years after EV1 the "traditional" automakers still want to kill the electric car. This is why Tesla is so important."

You are probably right. Still I think BMW would have done well with a pretty coupe that drove well.
I'll probably get flamed but I do not care for the X either but ironicly my wife likes it. I am worried a bit that the S design will not scale down well. Hope they get it right. Practicality is fine. But as my friends will tell you, "Bob likes em fast and he likes em pretty" This applies to women, aircraft and cars. Beauty is it's own reward.

bob | 29 juli 2013 Your last sentence is hilarious - exact feeling here. Is there a psychologist on this forum? I know beautiful women who tried to look bad so that they could be taken more seriously. What kind of syndrome is this irrational EV ugliness?"

At least my wife did not go through the phase you mentioned. Aside from being the best person I ever met she is also a world class beauty. Fortunatly for me she does not know it.....

mrspaghetti | 29 juli 2013

Uncle geek +1: FUGLY

And 80 miles of range, somebody pinch me. Agree with OP - total fail.

nwdiver93 | 29 juli 2013

"I think BMW would have done well with a pretty coupe that drove well"

That's what really pisses me off... they did this intentionally so they're not cannibalizing their beloved 3 series. BMW can rot in hell... go Tesla

JaneW | 29 juli 2013

It doesn't compete with MS and shouldn't be compared. It's a $42,000 city car.
0–60 mph in approximately 7 seconds (not exciting, but better than many)
80–100 miles per charge (enough for most uses)
Fully charged in approximately 3 hours. (not bad)

Let's see what Tesla does with $42,000. Then we can compare.

And the 2B includes the design of the i8.

JaneW | 29 juli 2013

It is rather funny looking, though. ;)

gt3123 | 29 juli 2013

There are a lot of people that drive 25-30 miles to work everyday.
These people can purchase a BMW for 41,000 dollars and drive to work everyday or
Can purchase a TESLA for 80,000 plus and drive a car full of batteries they don't need back and forth to work for 8 years. The I3 is Ugly for sure but don't underestimate its place in the Electrical car revolution/evolution.

jbunn | 29 juli 2013


Actually, I thought the first part about the bulldog was the best. I LOLed.

Cattledog | 29 juli 2013

From Motor Trend:

...It's a black hole, precisely where BMW needed a nice dose of its behind-the-wheel driving sizzle.

Golf cart.

No, I'm not comparing the i3 to one. But I'm mentioning those two panic-button words to get BMW's attention...

Ouch. If you're making an electric car and the words 'golf' and 'cart' are within two hundred miles (with range extender, stolen from a lawnmower) of a test drive write-up, you have misspent $2B in an epic way. And our other car is a BMW, so this one is really disappointing.


A. What Tesla has done is so far ahead of the competition, like light years ahead, that it's even more remarkable than we thought.

B. Legacy ICE car makers are so ingrained in their own status quo of incrementalism that they can't literally come to believe that a true EV is better.

C. A and B

Colasec | 29 juli 2013

That's the ugliest car I've ever seen. It makes the Leaf look like Miss America.

Seriously, from the front it looks like a spider alien with two layers of eyes, ready to pounce on you and grind you up between two giant fangs.

From the back it looks like the terrifying furnace(?) from Brave Little Toaster(?).

I'm think I'm going to have nightmares.

TommyBoy | 29 juli 2013

Why are there four Kindle Fires on the dashboard?

Mark K | 29 juli 2013

BMW is not incapable of attractive styling.

It sure points to an intentional strategy of limiting its appeal to those who are so green-minded they don't care about looks, so the mainstream keep buying their ICE line.

Conflicted interests are the scourge of excellence.

Thank god for Tesla. They actually want to succeed with the transition to EV's.

electricblue0303 | 29 juli 2013

I'm with ziggy on this one - the i3 FAILS! I have an idea - how about one of those YouTube epic fail videos starring the i3? Perhaps showing it tooling around a downtown area in a big city with some pretty ladies glancing at it then shaking their heads and rolling their eyes in disapproval.

Why do all the OEMs design their EVs to be so small and stupid looking? (Chevy Volt excepted - I like the styling on that one).

The MS is not only light-years ahead of this but in an entire dimension altogether.

Every single BMW ICE model sold today looks a billion times better than the i3. Geesh BMW - you guys laid a turd!

I also agree with the horse comparison - I've seen donkey's backsides that look better than this car. Ugh!