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In-depth reviews

BMW i3 (2013-2022) review - Reliability and safety

There’s an eight-year warranty on the i3's battery, but pedestrian safety costs the BMW i3 vital Euro NCAP stars

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability and Safety Rating

4.0 out of 5

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While BMW has expanded its electric car portfolio in recent years, the i3 stands the test of time in terms of looks but crucially safety as well. Usually getting rid of a B-pillar in a family car would spell disaster for rigidity in crashes, but the i3’s body made up of strong carbon fibre-reinforced plastic structure negates this. There’s also six airbags and standard stability control. However, the bluff front end cost it points in Euro NCAP’s pedestrian assessments – resulting in a disappointing four-star score.

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A number of hi-tech safety options were available, though, such as the Driving Assistant Plus. This clever kit brings adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and Traffic Jam Assist, which will accelerate, steer and brake the car at speeds up to 24mph. A pedestrian warning noise generator was also optional and worked up to around 20mph.

The i3 failed to make it into the 2022 edition of the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but BMW ranked 16th out of 29 manufacturers in the survey for customer experience and reliability. 

With fewer moving parts than internal-combustion engined cars, the i3 should be simpler to work on and more reliable. Unfortunately, running costs have been reported as poor on the i3, with servicing bills higher than you might think.

Warranty

To help reassure buyers who may be nervous about living with unfamiliar electric drive technology, BMW provided an eight-year and 100,000-mile warranty for the lithium-ion battery pack. The rest of the car – including the electric power system and the motor itself - is covered by a standard three-year guarantee, much like the rest of the BMW range.

Servicing

BMW offers a Pay Monthly Service Plan to help spread the cost of routine maintenance. For electric ‘i’ models, the plan is offered at £15 per month and used i3 buyers can still take advantage of the plan if the original owner bought it with the car being covered for at least the first four years after its registration date.

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