BMW i3 (2021) in the test: the old man is hot

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Production will end in 2022, but the small electric BMW by no means looks outdated

BMW i3 (2021) in the test: the old man is hot-2022 small electric means looks outdated

The symbols on the BMW i3 say goodbye: production is scheduled for 2022 of the small electric car. So is the i3 presented in 2013 yesterday's technology? To check that, we went on a farewell tour with a current i3.


What is that?

One thing is for sure: Despite its age, the BMW i3 still looks ultra-modern and attracts attention. Of course, you have to like the angular look with the bare rear. A good idea, however, are the larger side windows at the rear, which improve the general clarity.

Two other unique things about the i3: Narrow but high tires in the format 175/55 R20 for the benefit of rolling resistance and the doors that open in opposite directions. In the absence of a B-pillar, access to the inside is good, but the concept literally reaches its limits in narrow parking spaces.

Incidentally, when the doors are open you can easily see the passenger cell made of CFRP, commonly known as carbon fiber. With this concept, the i3 is quite unique in its class; BMW itself does without the expensive material in its new electric cars. After all, the i3 is light despite the batteries: the data sheet names 1,345 kilograms.

The dimensions make the i3 the ideal city vehicle: 4.01 meters long (roughly VW Polo level), 2.57 meters wheelbase, 1.77 meters wide, but almost 1.58 meters high. This is one of the reasons why it is surprisingly airy in the smallest BMW: At the front, the absence of a center tunnel ensures a lot of space, while two passengers can be accommodated at the rear without any need. Because of the batteries in the bottom, you sit high in the i3. One may find that good, the other may find it too high.

First of all, the wide distance between the windshield and the cockpit is irritating. But you get used to it quickly, especially since there are so many shelves available. The thick knob to the right of the steering wheel for starting and the choice of gear seems to be VW for the ID.3 To have looked at in a leaner form.

In general, however, it must be said that the i3 may be one of the best current models from BMW because of its age in terms of workmanship, materials and operation. There is also the excellent rotary pushbutton with direct selection buttons for the iDrive. And depending on the equipment package, wood and leather find their way into the interior. Also good: digital screens and displays are standard in the i3, but without an extremely huge format.

BMW i3 (2021) in the test: the old man is hot-2021

How does he drive?

Before I set off, I take a look at the data sheet: it reports 125 kW (170 PS) as the peak output for the normal i3, 75 kW (102 PS) is the continuous output. There is also the somewhat sportier i3s with 14 hp higher peak power. But even the normal i3 is in a good mood: it slips pleasantly quietly from 0 to 60 km / h in just 3.8 seconds, and 100 km / h is on the speedometer after 7.3 seconds.

After a bit of getting used to, I really liked the non-adjustable recuperation: At first the i3 decelerates quite a lot, but in return the stored braking energy noticeably helps to keep the range constant for a long time. This reduces personal fear of range.

The rolling behavior is relatively comfortable, the maneuverability of the i3 is particularly good. You can choose from three driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro Plus. Eco Pro is ideal for the city: There are tips on how to drive with foresight, a maximum of 130 instead of the normal 150 km / h is possible. Starting at the traffic light is not quite as brutal here, but absolutely sufficient.

Consumption and Price

As you can see, you don't really notice the age of the BMW i3. Only the missing assistance systems reveal it and the charging capacity of a maximum of 50 kW on the CCS column. The manufacturer specifies 42 minutes from 20 to 80 percent. 42.2 kWh is the gross capacity of the Li-Ion battery.

And the range? 285 to 307 kilometers according to WLTP says BMW, in practical terms around 260. I say: It depends a lot on the driving mode and the driver's personality. Around 300 kilometers are feasible, the 260 kilometers in any case. My average consumption with a little motorway was 17.1 kWh on average and thus above the factory specification of 15.3 to 16.3 kWh.

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As successful as the i3 is, BMW is well enough when it comes to price. According to the list, nothing goes below 39,000 euros, and an i3 for almost 50,000 euros is not a problem either. Then suddenly become Tesla, VW or Hyundai Interesting. With a view to the foreseeable end of i3 production, it remains to be seen where the discounts and leasing will develop.


Despite its age, the BMW i3 remains an insider tip for electricity fans. The overall package shows how well it has been thought out and how much it was ahead of its time. Unfortunately, considering its size, it is very expensive. Whereby an electric mini with the same technology but only three doors, too.

Photo gallery: BMW i3 (2021) in the test

BMW i3 (2021) in the test: the old man is hot-2022 small electric means looks


BMW i3 (2021)

power 125 kW (170 PS) peak power; 75 kW (102 PS) rated power

Max. Torque 149 Nm

drive Rear wheel drive

Gear type 1-speed automatic

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 7.3 sec.

Top speed 150 km / h

length 4,011 mm

broad 1,775 mm

height 1,577 mm

Empty weight 1,345 kg

Payload 440 kg

Trunk volume 260 – 1,100 liters

Electric range 285-307 km (WLTP); 260 km (practical)

consumption 15.3 – 16.3 kWh / 100 km (WLTP)

Charging time 42 minutes (50 kW CCS), 3:12 hours (AC wallbox), approx. 15 hours (domestic socket)

battery 42.2 kWh

Base price 39,000 euros

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