BMW i3 review – the city car perfected? - Performance and 0-60 time

The BMW i3 is a genuinely impressive take on the electric city car.

Evo rating
  • Brilliant performance, great interior, stand-out looks
  • Range extender engine noisy, limited range without it

Performance and 0-60mph time

BMW has invested a fortune not only in the electrical components for its i cars, but also in a brand new factory in which to produce their carbon fibre bodies. A decision was made early on in the whole project to do this so weight could be kept down, preserving battery charge and extending the range. Hence the BMW i3 weighs just 1320kg in standard form.

So with maximum torque available from a standstill it should be no surprise that it puts in a decent 0-62mph time - at 7.3 seconds. Floor the throttle at rest and a little chirrup from the rear tyres (even in the dry) reveals that acceleration can be a little traction limited so it's even more impressive on the move, where the quiet motor just adds speed in a relentless surge.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

For example, it accelerates from 50mph to 74.5mph (120km/h) in just 4.9 seconds - only 0.6 seconds slower than the DCT-equipped BMW M4. Top speed is limited to 93mph 'for efficiency reasons' and the i3 can easily keep up with fast motorway traffic such is the seamless acceleration always on tap.

The range extender engine adds 120kg to the i3 and the rear wheels are a little wider, so straight line performance is dulled a tad. It hits 62mph from rest in a claimed 8.1 seconds, which still feels brisk for a city-bound electric car. Top speed is the same, and when the little two-cylinder range-extending engine is running there's a little more noise, but it's still quieter than most conventional cars.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/seat/leon-cupra/22765/new-2020-cupra-leon-revealed-cupra-hits-back-with-hot-hatch-and-estate
SEAT Leon Cupra

New 2020 Cupra Leon revealed

Cupra’s launched not just one, but a whole range of hot Leons to rival the rapidly expanding hot hatch class in 2020
21 Feb 2020
Visit/used-cars/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
21 Feb 2020
Visit/saloons/202277/bmw-m5-competition-v-mercedes-amg-e63-s-600bhp-supersaloons-go-head-to-head
Saloons

BMW M5 Competition v Mercedes-AMG E63 S - 600bhp supersaloons go head-to-head 

The BMW M5 Competition and Mercedes-AMG E63 S both boast more than 600bhp, 0-62 times in the threes, and massive road presence. Which begs the questio…
22 Feb 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019