During my summer vacation back home in Turkey, I had the chance to drive the BMW i3 in Istanbul. First, the BMW i3 offers a massive interior space that cannot be found in the 3-Series. This massive space includes the rear passenger area as well. Regarding the instrument panel, unlike other BMW models, it is very clean simple. However, when you get inside the i3, you won’t feel alienated by the centre console.
However, the gear lever is a bit tricky, but you will become used to it very easily. When you start the engine, there is no engine noise. So, don’t be surprised by the silence. Your nearly 10-year old MacBook Pro may generate more noise when you run it!
The surprise comes when you accelerate; the i3 has a unique throttle pedal. When the drive mode is in ECO or ECO Pro, the throttle pedal gives a breaking effect when you lift the throttle. How does this happen? As soon as you lift your foot from the throttle, the regenerative brakes engage heavily and the i3 starts to slowdown. The break pedal isn’t used, if you are not driving aggressively.
Personally, I always thought they should combine the throttle and brake pedals into one pedal and reduce the braking distance. The BMW i3 offers something similar to this. The only downside is that you can’t rest your foot. As soon as you lift the throttle, the i3 slows down dramatically. If you are not happy with this function, you need to shift to the comfort mode. However, this mode will reduce the range of the i3.
The other amazing feature of the i3 is the turning circle. If you think the London Black Cab has a great turning circle, you haven’t driven the i3. The front-end of the car does not have any mechanical parts, and this leaves considerable room for a massive turning circle! You can easily make U-turns in places smaller than your living room.
The driving character, acceleration, and handling satisfy the expectations of the BMW brand. Thanks to the battery pack underneath, the body reduces the centre of gravity and improves the driving experience. I didn’t feel the height of the vehicle while driving. The downside is that there is literally no room for a boot. It is tiny, and you don’t have space for a spare wheel. I would highly suggest getting your own tiny spare wheel for emergencies.
In the end, the BMW i3 is a great car! If you are planning to buy one, get it with the range extender and enjoy the i3 without any range anxiety.