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BMW i3 Test Drive Review

Date: 17 September 2014   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Having spent a week with BMW's i3 range-extender, it's fair to say the new plug-in is a car that turns heads like nothing else this side of a supercar.

It's a model that everyone is interested in, thanks to the individual styling that certainly isn't universally adored, but can't be ignored.

This range-extender will be the volume product for the foreseeable future against the full-electric sibling, and it's the best-driving electric vehicle yet in terms of handling and performance, although others are more practical and the ride isn't great. There's a decent amount of rear space, accessed via rear-hinged, half rear doors akin to the Mini Clubman.

The i3's 80-100-mile claimed range on the battery appear achievable in real-world conditions, and the two-cylinder petrol motor with a nine-litre fuel tank gives about the same again.

Residuals are good, giving the i3 a cost per mile that's 1.4p per mile cheaper than the larger and more practical Vauxhall Ampera, while the 13g/km emissions figure guarantees a lower benefit-in-kind band than regular models for the rest of the decade, although the higher P11D price negates much of the advantage


Marmite styling certainly turns heads, but the package beneath is top-class, if rather expensive up-front and not as practical as rivals