Step on the accelerator and torque is smooth and constant as this electric vehicle (EV) picks up speed. Power is willing right from the start, bringing this model to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds (6.8 seconds with the i3s). The range extender adds weight and slows this vehicle’s zero-to-60 mph time to 7.6 and 8.0 seconds for the i3s REx and i3 REx, respectively.
For maximum efficiency, drivers can work with the drive mode selector to choose one of four modes: Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro, or Eco Pro Plus. With Eco Pro selected, you'll then choose the i3’s top speed, ranging from 50 to 80 mph, although this model can reach 93 mph (99 mph with the i3s). Switch to Eco Pro Plus and the top speed is restricted to 56 mph. When operating in Eco Pro or Eco Pro Plus mode, you'll enjoy one-pedal driving as the car self brakes. You can override these restrictions at any time by pressing hard on the accelerator.
We found the i3’s handling crisp and nimble. Its excellent turning radius is ideal for an urban environment, but keep in mind that its skinny tires give up grip easily when turning aggressively. You'll also feel jitters and occasional skipping over broken pavement. When driving on twisty roads or taking corners, body roll is evident.
As for the gas motor, it's actually a 650cc motorcycle engine. It delivers 38 horsepower and 41 pound-feet of torque, but this power has no effect on vehicle performance. Instead, the engine powers a generator. Models with the range extender can travel up to 180 miles. A tiny 2.4-gallon fuel tank, though, really shouldn't be relied upon for long trips.