The letter i has become more contagious than the common cold. Everywhere you look the 9th letter of the alphabet appears to have attached itself. Is this primarily Apple’s doing? Maybe, but BMW’s new range of cars, i-cars obviously, aim to revolutionise the premium sector with machines that are both environmentally friendly and desirable. The Germans kick things off with the i3.
We have heard lots about this little urban warrior over the past few years, but now we get the official word along with our first look at the finished product. Using vast amounts of carbon fibre reinforced plastics, keeping weight down was a key objective for engineers. It is the first mass produced car with a monocoque made out of the stuff don’t you know! Powered by a centrally mounted 22-kilowatt battery that drives the rear wheels, the BMW i3 can get from 0-60MPH in 7 seconds and go onto a top speed of 93MPH. Range is often a big turn-off for potential electric car buyers, but BMW say that this model has a “real world range” of 80-100 miles. The i3 can also be specified with a two cylinder generator that extends the cars range. A charge to 80% battery capacity will take just 20 minutes.
A BMW i3 in the UK starts at £25,680 with a range extender model setting you back £2,000 more. However, BMW are also offering a very reasonable three year lease scheme that asks you to place a deposit of £2,995 and then 36 monthly payments of £369.