BMW i3 Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

Released in 2013, the BMW i3 was one of the first fully electric cars to make an entryway in the premium market. A fun, dynamic and quiet drive, this hatchback has all the hallmarks of a typical Beemer (except the quiet part). The superbly built powertrain handles speed exceptionally well, and the responsiveness beats out most competition in the EV segment. Thanks to the engaging drive, it’s not a conventional city car and the innovative design means it really stands out. If you’re looking for a futuristic drive that’s compact and easy to zip through town in, the i3 has you covered.

Visit the BMW i3 model page to explore available options and learn more.

What we think about the BMW i3

Fun, stylish and innovative, the BMW i3 is a head-turner in the premium EV segment.



Well designed interiors


Efficient powertrain


Engaging drive


Interior space is slightly cramped

Pricier than rivals

The BMW i3 is available either as a fully electric vehicle or with a range extender (REX). The REX version adds a petrol unit that acts as a generator but doesn’t power the wheels. You can choose between two trims and an additional sports variant that was released in 2017. Minor facelifts such as LED lighting accompany the latest models.

Driving performance of the Bmw I3

Our Driving Rating9 / 10

The i3 is a nifty electric that delivers all the driving thrills that you typically expect from a BMW. The high driving position, offering excellent visibility paired with the compact size, means zipping through packed and narrow city streets is a breeze. There’s a certain agility that’s rarely found in electrics, made very clear by how neatly it handles corners. The carbon fibre on the outside acts as a good counterbalance to the weighty battery underneath. The only small drawback is that it takes time to get used to the over-eager regenerative braking system. All in all, the i3 offers nimble handling across the speed dial.

Safety and reliability of the Bmw I3

Our Safety Rating8 / 10

The i3 is the first BMW to not receive a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP. Pedestrian safety is where the car loses out on the perfect score. However, note that the strong carbon fibre-reinforced plastic structure makes sure the car scores highly for protecting the passengers inside. Standard safety features include airbags, heated mirrors and parking assist. In terms of reliability, electric cars in general are relatively dependable as they have fewer moving parts. Combine this with BMW’s reputation for build quality and there are really no worries on this front with the i3.

Under the bonnet of the Bmw I3

Our Engine Rating9 / 10

The BMW i3 is powered by a 168 bhp motor. Although it doesn’t sound like much, you’d be surprised to know that the 0 to 62 mph sprint takes only 7.3 seconds. The i3S with its extra 16 bhp is even faster at 6.6 seconds. Extra weight from the petrol unit means that it’s a bit slower than the pure EV. This electric gives its best performance at 30 mph, which is typically what city cars usually function at, but it doesn’t underperform on the highways. Overall, it’s a sprightly engine.

What you'll find in the Bmw I3

Our Design Rating8 / 10

Given that the i3 carries the BMW badge, there’s plenty of room for experimental design. It’s got the offbeat concept car appeal that makes it stand out from the crowd. The latest model, released in 2017, replaces the old halogen lights with LED lights all around, along with subtle changes to the bumper styling, making it all the more distinctive and futuristic. Going with the sporty i3S version means you get 20-inch alloy wheels and a lower riding position.

Comfort and interiors in the Bmw I3

Our Comfort Rating7 / 10

The futuristic looks continue on the inside, with minimalism informing the design cues. A high-driving position and narrow build make it easy to park, but the hinged doors cause a hassle in tight spaces when it comes to getting in and out. In terms of space, there’s plenty of legroom for the front passengers. In the back, while children will be more comfortable than adults, lots of headroom and the panoramic sunroof give the i3 an airy feel. The 260-litre boot space isn’t as big as rivals, but there’s also some space under the front bonnet to fit a small shopping bag.

bmw i3 dashboard

What features you'll find in the Bmw I3

Our Features Rating8 / 10

A ten-inch screen with an iDive controller and satnav come as standard on all BMW i3s. You also get a DAB radio and hands-free Bluetooth for playing music. Upgrade to the more expensive trims if you want to indulge in a Harman Kardon sound system. You can register with the free BMW ConnectedDrive account to access Apple CarPlay. The build quality is excellent, as you’d expect, and details like the eucalyptus wood running across the dashboard of the Lodge trim add to the superior cabin feel.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Bmw I3

Our Fuel Consumption Rating9 / 10

As expected, the i3 is incredibly efficient. According to BMW, charging the vehicle overnight will cost about £9 per month based on an annual 8000-mile usage. In comparison, a BMW diesel that offers 50 mpg will drink nearly £90 per month. Although it’s quite expensive, adding on the range extender is practical as it gives you the peace of mind you need while running errands on the fly. Also, it’s useful for motorway driving, as long as you’re happy to refill it with petrol every 100 miles or so.

Running costs of the Bmw I3

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

The i3 sits in insurance group 28, while the i3S is at 29. The initial expense is higher than a typical petrol or diesel car, but you can get a great deal when you pick one up on the second-hand market. Note that repairing the carbon-fibre body is expensive in the event of damage. The good news however is that there’s an eight-year,100,000-mile warranty for the lithium-ion battery pack. Plus, with zero CO2 emissions, the i3 is exempt from road tax.

Our verdict of the Bmw I3

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

A fun drive, funky interiors and zero emissions make the BMW i3 a superb city car.