BMW
i3
2017
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John Diether
Automotive Editor - August 21, 2017

2017 BMW i3 OVERVIEW

BMW's resident electric vehicle, the i3 might not look like of any of its stablemates, but performs with nearly as much charisma. Buyers in search of gas-free motoring with an athletic twist will find a lot to like.

What's New for 2017

A larger battery for increased range and a sunroof join the option list.

BMW X4

Choosing Your BMW i3

The i3 retains its rear-drive, rear-engine layout and tall hatchback body. The electric motor delivers 170 horsepower through a single-speed automatic transmission. According to BMW, the i3 averages 81 miles of range with the standard 22-kilowatt-hour battery. The optional 33-kWh battery bumps that figure to 114 miles. Actual range will vary according to power needs and the selected driving mode (Normal, Eco Pro, Eco Pro+).

Recharging a fully depleted 22-kWh battery takes about 3.5 hours on a 240-volt outlet. The 33-kWh battery needs 4.5 hours of charging time. The optional Range Extender — essentially a gas-powered generator like you'd get on a Chevrolet Volt — boosts the i3's average range to 180 miles.

The i3 is EPA-rated at 124 miles per gallon equivalent in combined city and highway driving, or 118 MPGe with the larger battery.

Trim levels break out according to range:

60 ah

Carries the 22-kWh battery for an average range of 81 miles, plus standard features like navigation, rear parking sensors, satellite and HD radio, heated front seats, and 19-inch wheels. Prices start at $43,395 with destination.

94 ah

Offers the 33-kWh battery and 114 miles of range, starting at $44,595.

Ranger Extender

Gets the larger battery and onboard generator for an average of 180 miles on a single charge. The i3 with Range Extender is priced from $48,445.

Every model offers a choice of interior trim materials, or "Worlds" as BMW calls them:

  • Deka World (standard): Full cloth seats
  • Mega World ($1,400): Leatherette seats with cloth inserts (standard on 60 ah)
  • Giga World: ($1,800): Leather and cloth seats, plus eucalyptus wood trim
  • Terra World ($2,600): Full leather seats and dark oak trim

BMW offers two option packages for the i3. The $1,000 Parking Assistant Package adds a rearview camera and an automated parking system. Those features are also available in the Technology + Driving Assistant Package, along with an upgraded navigation system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking for $2,350.

The only individual factory options are a sunroof ($1,000), Harman Kardon surround-sound system ($800), and 20-inch wheels.

CarsDirect Tip

BMW has partially compensated for the cost of the larger battery in the 94 ah by giving the 60 ah a slightly nicer standard interior (Mega instead of Deka). With a difference of just $1,200 between the two, we'd go for the longer-range 94 ah. Whether to tack on the Range Extender at $3,850 is less clear-cut. While it might remove range anxiety, it doesn't turn the i3 into a long-distance EV by any means.

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