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.

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.

Most Popular

Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in
R8 Filler cap
Porsche

Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in

Porsche claims a car running on eFuel will have the same CO2 footprint as an EV, and BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and McLaren all agree
24 Feb 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 revealed – special edition marks 45 years of the GTI
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 revealed – special edition marks 45 years of the GTI

The Golf GTI Clubsport 45 features aesthetic tweaks to celebrate 45 years since the icon first hit the road
26 Feb 2021
2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury
2021 Mercedes C-class revealed - front tracking
Mercedes C-Class

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury

New C-class to launch as four-cylinder only; AMGs expected to be the same
23 Feb 2021