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/porsche/cayman/202238/porsche-cayman-gts-40-2020-review-a-cut-price-cayman-gt4
Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 2020 review - a cut-price Cayman GT4? 

The 2020 Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 regains its flat-six and therefore top-billing in the class. It’s a brilliant package for those whom a GT4 is a bit to…
16 Feb 2020
Visit/volkswagen/21153/2020-volkswagen-golf-r-mk8-spied-ahead-of-reveal
Volkswagen Golf R

2020 Volkswagen Golf R Mk8 spied ahead of reveal

Next-generation VW Golf R spotted cold weather testing prior to official launch
17 Feb 2020
Visit/pagani/202249/eu5m-pagani-imola-revealed-with-815bhp-twin-turbocharged-v12
Pagani

€5m Pagani Imola revealed with 815bhp twin-turbocharged V12

As if the £2m Huayra BC wasn't enough, the Italian marque has unveiled yet another limited-run hardcore hypercar
17 Feb 2020
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019