Best car

BMW i3: best all-electric car?

A genre-defining statement of intent from BMW, says expert car reviewer Andrew Frankel 

BMW i3

Just as Boeing watched the British pioneer the jet-liner, learning from our mistakes before pitching in with its own perfected aircraft, so BMW has left it to others to navigate through the early days of pure electric cars before presenting its masterpiece, the i3. The BMW i3 is a revolution because while its rivals have but one USP – they’re electric – its source of power is just one of i3’s many talents. It looks cool and has a fabulously modern interior, while underneath it all lies a structure of carbon fibre, a material more usually used in Formula 1 because it is so light and expensive.

This means that the i3, and despite the weight of its lithium ion battery pack, is actually the lightest BMW on sale. This means it doesn’t need much power to provide genuine BMW performance with, by electric car standards, a decent range too. It’s even good fun to drive. And for those still worried about running out of power, you can buy one with an additional petrol engine from a scooter that acts as a generator when the battery is depleted. It has the name, the look, the tech and ability to dominate the class for years.

Images: Newspress. Video: Liam Murphy


  • Engine: 170bhp
  • Transmission: 1-speed automatic
  • Top speed: 93mph
  • 0-60mph acceleration: 7.2sec


  • This model from: £30,980
  • Claimed economy: 0mpg
  • VED: Group A
  • Insurance Group: 21 (1=low, 50=high)

RAC Drive Verdict

3 / 5
4 / 5
5 / 5
5 / 5