BMW i3 review - MPG, CO2 and running costs
Day-to-day running is cheap as chips, but you pay for the privilege at both ends through a high list price and average residuals
The BMW i3’s economy will depend greatly on the driving you do. Keep the battery topped up and stick to shorter trips and the range will be useful for most. According to the official tests, the sportier i3s offers 13 miles less from a full charge than the standard i3, but BMW claims that the ‘real-world’ ability for both is up to 160 miles.
An overnight charge should cost around £5 on a domestic tariff, while the i3 is currently exempt from road fund licence, Benefit-in-Kind company car tax and the London congestion charge. However, bear in mind that it’ll take almost 20 hours to fully charge the i3’s batteries from a standard three-pin wall socket. But, if you fit a 7kW wallbox at home, you can reduce this to around six hours.
There’s a choice of Comfort, EcoPro and EcoPro+ drive modes, and the latter two are designed to save energy, with EcoPro+ going as far as switching off the climate control and limiting speed to 56mph to maximise range.
As with most electric cars and plug-in hybrids, the price is high even with the Government’s £3,000 Plug-in Car Grant, but company car tax is super-low. BMW also offers fixed-price servicing, plus access to conventional models if you need to make longer journeys.
The BMW i3 sits in group 28, with the more powerful i3S in 29. This is quite high by family car standards, but then performance is better than most and the cost of repairs to that carbon body structure could be significant in the event of an accident.
The only disappointment is the BMW’s relatively poor residuals, as our experts predict that the i3 will retain around 43 to 49 per cent of its original value after three years and 36,000 miles.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe BMW i3 is innovative, stylish and good to drive - delivering a premium small electric car with plenty of road presence
- 2Engines, performance and driveSprightly electric performance and good handling make the i3 fun; a compromised ride can’t spoil it
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running Costs - currently readingDay-to-day running is cheap as chips, but you pay for the privilege at both ends through a high list price and average residuals
- 4Interior, design and technologyConcept car looks and design-led interior set the scene for a technology masterclass
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe i3 is roomy and comfortable for four, thanks to great design and clever packaging
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere’s an 8-year warranty on the battery, but pedestrian safety costs the BMW i3 vital Euro NCAP stars