Blog > Shorter Range, Bigger Swagger…The BMW i3

Shorter Range, Bigger Swagger…The BMW i3

Compact car and the word sexy don’t usually find themselves in the same sentence, but the BMW i3 is one of those little EVs that cause your eyes to linger a little longer than usual. It is a BMW, so naturally, it has some swagger, but with a super stylish exterior and luxurious cabin, the BMW i3 can hold its own on the streets.

BMW’s i3 was one of the first mainstream electric vehicles to hit the market, way back in 2014, and the last model came out in 2021 (which is what we’ve based this review on). Although this EV isn’t a player in the long-range game, it fits the bill if you are looking for something peppy that can handle short commutes and fits nicely in a squishy parking space. To compensate for its lack of distance, the BMW i3 can be upgraded with an optional gas-powered engine to provide extra range-something that might work well for you if you’re not ready to go all electric.

Power and Performance

The BMW i3 is powered by a 170-horsepower electric engine and accelerates 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. Remarkably smooth, this EV holds up to the BMW name giving you a premium driving experience. No buzzing, no weird vibrations and an almost isolated feel from the road. Driving the BMW i3 is zippy and fun. It can manoeuvre through traffic with ease, and it pulls hard and fast dues to its one-speed direct-drive transmission. If it has one downside, it might be its light steering, but that’s just if we’re nitpicking.

Don’t expect additional speed if you have a model with a gas-powered range extender. The gas engine doesn’t drive the rear wheels. Instead, it fires up to charge the battery pack when it’s depleted to 6.5% and keeps the charge level of the battery constant while driving.

Range, Battery and Charging

The BMW i3 has a fully charged range of 246km. Unlike other EVs on the market, newer i3s offer a gas-powered range extender. We wouldn’t recommend going on long road trips if you have the range extender, but it does help relieve some of the range anxiety you might feel having an EV with such a short range span. As we mentioned above, the gas engine doesn’t add speed but energy to the battery pack giving it an additional 150-ish km of range.

The 42.2-kWh battery can be charged from 0-100% in 2-4 hours with a level 2 charger. If you use a standard household outlet (level 1), expect it to take up to 25 hours for a full charge. DC Fast Chargers can juice up a BMW i3 in about 30 minutes.

Interior and Cargo Space

As you can imagine, with a small car, back seat passengers will suffer unless they are tiny humans. Regardless, the interior of the BMW i3 is open and airy with beautiful styling. The rear door hinges at the back, so they open opposite the front doors. No pillar separates the front and rear doors, creating an ample, open space that helps with entry and cargo placement in the back. When you lower the back seats, you can easily fit 14 carry-on suitcases inside.

Unlike the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Kona Electric, the BMW i3 has a small infotainment screen measuring about 6.5 inches. Navigation and Apple CarPlay come standard, but Android Auto does not. For as luxurious as BMW likes to be, the i3 lacks a lot of extras like a Head-Up Display, a more extensive audio system (the i3 has a 4 speaker system) and multiple USB ports (it has only one in the front center console). Still, it is a small EV with limited space, so we can let that slide. 

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Sadly, there aren’t a lot of fancy driver assistance features that come standard on the BMW i3, but there is a Technology + Driving Assistance package that, if you’re lucky, you’ll find on a used model.

Technology + Driving Assistant package includes:

  • Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the i3 and the car in front)
  • Cornering lights (illuminate to enhance your field of view while turning)
  • Navigation system
  • 10.25-inch central display screen

The BMW i3 is a unique electric vehicle that, despite a few deficiencies, is a special car well-loved by many. If this fancy little commuter EV sounds like your kind of ride, check us out at With a great selection of quality preowned electric vehicles, we might have the perfect used BMW i3 for you. Browse from the comfort of your home and have the EV of your dreams delivered right to your door. Drive Clean, Drive Green. Your Electric Vehicle, Delivered.