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2015 BMW i3

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/28/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 BMW i3 gains satellite radio, heated seats, and DC Fast Charging as standard equipment.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 BMW i3 is an extended range plug-in electric vehicle with seating for four passengers. An electric motor with 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque is the only powertrain available and is linked to a single-speed automatic transmission. The car has an estimated range of 81 miles, or 150 miles with the optional range extender.

Overview

Driving dynamics don't live up to the standard of other BMW models, with poor steering feel and handling through corners. The car's turning circle, on the other hand, is excellent at 32.3 feet. The 2015 i3's interior design is less conservative than that of other BMW products, featuring bamboo accents, a wave-shaped dash, and brightly colored upholstery. There's room for four passengers. Cargo space is on the small side, with up to 36.9 cubic feet of volume with the rear seats folded down. A central, tablet-like screen controls most of the infotainment system functions including navigation, range, and battery usage.

What We Think

Even though it wears a BMW roundel, the 2015 BMW i3 doesn't have the same engaging driving dynamics as its stablemates. In a 2014 First Drive review, we noted that the car's handling was sloppy through a slalom course and "lolled through corners." While the electric power steering is accurate, it doesn't have much in terms of feel and is overly light. We also noted in a 2014 Second Drive that the car's interior quality isn't as impressive because the extensive use of recycled materials make it feel cheap and underwhelming, especially compared to other BMWs.

You'll Like

  • Tight turning circle
  • Interior design is more playful than that of most BMWs

You Won't Like

  • Sloppy driving dynamics
  • Range extender adds 265 pounds
  • Unimpressive interior build quality

Key Competitors

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Ford Fusion Energi
  • Toyota Prius Plug-In
  • Honda Accord Plug-In
  • Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Rating

2 star

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