2020 BMW I3 Electric

2020 MODEL
$44,450 - $51,500
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5.8

Overall Rating

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2020 BMW i3 electric Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 21, 2020

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Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist


The i3 is powered by a 60 ah electric motor which puts out 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque mated to a single-speed transmission. A 2.0-litre gasoline range extender is used to charge the battery when it depleted completely. Moreover, it cradles the occupants in avant-garde and luxurious cabin.

The BMW i3 is a part of the new wave of hybrid and electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e -golf. The alternatives are cheaper but they don’t offer the performance you get with the bimmer.

See detailed review »

Pros

Unique looks

Efficient powertrain

Peppy acceleration

Compliant ride

Hi-tech cabin

Cons

Priced way higher than the rivals

Limited EV range

Rear seats are cramped

What's New?

There are no major changes for 2020


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$44450

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

passenger capacity

4

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

horsepower

181 hp @ 4800 rpm

torque

199 lbs.-ft.

transmission

Single Speed

chassis

frame type

monocoque

brake rotors (f/r)

44146

dimensions

wheelbase

101.2 in.

length

158.3 in.

width

69.9 in.

height

62.9 in.

curb weight

2972 lbs.

ground clearance

5.5 in.

capacity

passenger volume

84 cu ft.

cargo volume

36.9 cu ft.

payload capacity

838 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

124/102/113 mpg

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr. /50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

12 yr. /unlimited

roadside assistance

4 yr. /unlimited


Pictures & Videos

Videos
2020 BMW i3 electric Review video
2020 BMW i3 electric Exterior video

Styles

2020 BMW i3 electric in Capparis White color 2020 BMW i3 electric in Mineral Gray Metallic color 2020 BMW i3 electric in Jucaro Beige Metallic color
Capparis White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

6.0

Engine And Performance

5.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

4.0

Exterior

5.0

Final Verdict

5.8

5.8

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 BMW i3 electric Base

Base

power
181 hp @ 4800 rpm
fuel
Electric
mpg
113 combined

$44,450


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Hatchback (electric) Starting at $44,450 MSRP (124/113/102) 181 hp @ 4800 rpm, electric, electric
Single Speed rear wheel drive 4

2020 BMW i3 electric S

S

power
181 hp
fuel
Electric
mpg
113 combined

$47,650


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Hatchback (electric) Starting at $47,650 MSRP (124/113/102) 181 hp, electric, electric
Single Speed rear wheel drive 4

2020 BMW i3 electric Range Extender

Range Extender

power
168 @ 4800
fuel
Electric
mpg
113 combined

$48,300


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Range extender 4dr Hatchback (electric) Starting at $48,300 MSRP (124/113/102) 168 @ 4800, electric, electric
Single Speed rear wheel drive 4

2020 BMW i3 electric Range Extender S

Range Extender S

power
168 @ 4800
fuel
Electric
mpg
113 combined

$51,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Range Extender S 4dr Hatchback (electric) Starting at $51,500 MSRP (124/113/102) 168 @ 4800, electric, electric
Single Speed rear wheel drive 4

Expert Review

5.8

Overall Rating


The standard motor in the i3 generates 170 hp while the i3s puts out 184 hp. Made for composite material the bimmer is lightweight and competitive. The BMW i3 and BMW i3s apply the concept of sustainability throughout and the interior is crafted from recyclable material.

The i3 aims to sway away buyers from alternatives like the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf. It is priced similar to a mid-size luxury sedan, so does it worth your money let’s see ahead.

2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback Front View
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback Rear View

6.0/10
Features

5.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

4.0/10
Interior

5.0/10
Exterior

5.8/10
Final Verdict


2020 BMW i3 electric Features

6.0/10

The 2020  BMW i3  is offered in four different trim levels which i3, i3 range extender, i3s, and i3s range extender. The i3 comes with 170 hp electric motor while the i3s puts out 180 hp. The range extender (REX) is a two-cylinder gasoline engine which charges up the batteries to increase the range. The BMW i3/i3s is priced between $44,450 to $52,059 (BMW i3s with Range Extender).  Opting for the range-extending gas engine costs $3,850.

The base i3 model has the same battery as that of its siblings and comes equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and Level 3 DC fast-charging capability alongside some of the major interior overhauls like the keyless entry, rain-sensing headlights and adaptive cruise among others. Some packages can be included to maximize your comfort and safety.  Technology + Driving Assistant can be added to any variant but the upholstery packages for the base i3 is Mega World, Giga World, and Tera World.

Trims

BMW i3

BMW i3 Range Extender

BMW i3 S

BMW i3 S Range Extender

MSRP (RWD)

$44,450 $47,650 $48,300 $51,500

Features

Black mirror caps 

Adds or replaces :

Adds or replace :

Adds or replaces

 

Power-folding, heated side mirrors 

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) roof 

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) roof 

Slide-through interior floor design 

 

Capparis White non-metallic paint with BMW i Frozen Blue accent 

Rear coach doors 

Rear coach doors 

Manual front seats with folding rear-seat access 

 

BMW i U-shaped LED daytime running lights 

Velour floor mats 

Kenaf interior dash and door panels 

Tire Pressure Monitor 

Rear-window defroster 

 

Exterior thermoplastic bumpers, fenders, and door panels 

Deka World (includes Atelier European Dark Cloth upholstery) 

Slide-through interior floor design 



 

Tilt/telescopic steering wheel column 

 

HD Radio with "multicast" FM station reception 

Driver and 3-passenger seating 

Manual front seats with folding rear-seat access 

Power front windows with "one-touch"

up/down operation 

 

SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 1-year All Access subscription 

50/50 split-folding rear seats 

Kenaf interior dash and door panels 

Multi-function steering wheel 

Electric interior trunk and hood release 

12V power socket in the center console 

 

Tire Pressure Monitor 

Slide-through interior floor design 

BMW Navigation Business system with iDrive Controller, 6.5" high-resolution screen and programmable memory buttons 

 
 

Rear-window defroster &Rear-view Camera 

Manual front seats with folding rear-seat access 

BMW TeleService 

USB audio connection 

 

We Recommend

The base i3 is a good option to consider as it comes with a lower price tag and incrementally higher range. If you want better performing i3, opt for the i3S as it offers more power than the base and better features too for 3000 bucks more.

2020 BMW i3 electric Engine and Performance

5.0/10

Since its launch in 2014 the battery capacity if the i3 has grown from 60 Ah and now 120 Ah for 2020. The lithium-ion battery pack powers an electric motor which generates 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The optional i3S comes with more powerful 181 hp and 194 lb-ft torque powertrain. The new battery extends the range upto 153 miles which was115 miles in the previous variant.

Based on your preference the i3 premium can be fitted with a two-cylinder gasoline range extender which can be used when your battery is running low. The 647-cc twin-cylinder range extender gasoline engine produces 38 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque. It is only used to charge the battery when it goes off but the performance depletes.

Models

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

MSRP

$44,450

$30,700

$37,495

$30,885

Engine

Synchronous Traction Motor

Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor

Permanent magnet Drive Motor

Synchronous Motor

Drivetrain RWD FWD FWD FWD

Transmission

1-Speed Direct Drive

1-Speed Direct Drive 1-Speed Direct Drive 1-Speed Direct Drive

Power

170hp@4,800rpm 134hp@N/Arpm 200hp@0rpm 147hp@3,282rpm

Torque

184lb-ft@0rpm

134hp@N/Arpm 266lb-ft@0rpm 236lb-ft@0rpm

The Chevrolet Bolt-EV produces the highest amount of horses followed by the i3. The Nissan leaf hatchback and Hyundai Ioniq takes the third and fourth spot respectively.

Acceleration

The BMW i3, powered by a 170 hp electric motor, accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, while the BMW i3s with 181 hp completes the standard sprint in 6.8 seconds. The two models set the benchmark for sporty performance within their vehicle segment. The BMW i3 120Ah and the BMW i3s 120Ah have a much more favourable CO2 footprint across the entire vehicle lifecycle.

2020 BMW i3 Electric Hatchback covers 0-60 in just 7.2 sec

Models

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

0-60 MPH

7.2 sec

10.2 sec

6.5 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

N/A

17.8 sec

15.3 sec

N/A

Top Speed 93 MPH 102 MPH 92 MPH N/A

Engine

Synchronous Traction Motor

Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor

Permanent magnet Drive Motor

Synchronous Motor

The Quarter mile and the 0-60MPH figures of the Ioniq are just about average and it tails behind Nissan Leaf. The Bolt –EV is fastest among rivals followed by BMW i3.

Ride and Handling

The increase in battery capacity certainly helps to crunch more miles than the previous variant. After the battery goes off the range extender is there so you won’t have to look for a charging spot. The carbon-fibre lightweight constriction and batteries mounted under the floor aids in superb handling and traction. However, the skinny all-season tires tend to lose grip on slippery surfaces.

 I3 with its short dimensions is excellent to manoeuvre in city traffic and parking lots. Being an all-around performer BMW i3 boasts of a finely balanced handling and responsive steering. Outward visibility is good and the cabin remains quiet on highway speed with low levels of wind noise. The i3s features special suspension and large wheels than standard variant which makes up for better driving dynamics.

Braking

The i3 is quite stable during panic stops instead of its regenerative braking and just takes 125 feet to stop from 60 mph. The pedal feel is very natural and the brakes are better than the rivals. Since it’s an electric vehicle there is no need to shift gears which makes your job easier and gives you a supremely smooth acceleration and braking.

2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback has a Front Brake of 11 in.

Model

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Brake Rotors Front

11"

11.2"

11"

11.1"

Brake Rotors Rear

11"

11.2"

10"

11.5"

Curb Weight

2965 lbs

3164 lbs

3563 lbs

3433 lbs

60-0 MPH

125 ft

N/A

N/A

N/A

The i3 is the lightest among the rivals with just 2965 lbs which makes it best in braking performance. The Ioniq takes the second spot followed by Chevrolet bolt and Nissan Leaf.

2020 BMW i3 electric Fuel Economy

9.0/10

The BMW i3 can travel up to 153 miles with its electric powertrain. The range extender helps you to travel more than 200 miles. The gasoline motor is only used to recharge the battery and not to mechanically drive the wheels. However, the gasoline-fueled range-extending generator comes into the picture when the EVs charge drops to 5 per cent. BMW’s tiny 2.4-gallon gas tank adds only 80 miles of gas-powered range, according to the EPA.

Model

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

MPGE (City)

129

150

128

124

MPGE (Highway)

106

122

110

99

MPGE (Combined)

118

136

119

112

Range 259 miles 170 miles 259 miles 259 miles

The BMW i3 has better range than the Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Ioniq. The Chevrolet Bolt continues to have best-in-class range among all rivals.

2020 BMW i3 electric Interior

4.0/10

The BMW i3 can comfortably seat five people but people with long legs in the rear may have a concern. Is rear-hinged doors allow easy access into the cabin for passengers. The carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell is tougher than steel and wonderfully light. The design principle of the two four-seater models means there is no need for either fixed B-pillars or a transmission tunnel. Keeping intact its brand name, BMW i3 has very comfortable seats and it exhibits a level of quality that is quite unique for a compact hatch.

2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback Rear Seats

The BMW i3 and BMW i3s apply the concept of sustainability. Over 80 percent of the surfaces visible to the passengers are made from recycled materials or renewable resources

Model

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Passenger capacity

5

4

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.1/56.1/42.2

39.6/53.6/40.5

39.7/54.6/41.6

41.2/54.3/42.1

Second

(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

37.4/55.0/35.7

37.2/49.2/31.9

37.9/52.8/36.5

37.3/52.5/33.3

The Nissan Leaf is the most spacious from the inside ass compared to the other rivals. While all others are similar in terms of interior space but the i3 feels cramped in the rear because of its smaller dimensions.

Interior Features

  • Heated Front Seats
  • 6-Way Driver Seat
  • 6-Way Passenger Seat
  • 50-50 Folding Bench Front Facing Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat
  • Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Valet Function
  • Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter
  • Remote Releases -Inc: Power Cargo Access
  • Day-Night Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
  • Integrated Navigation System
  • Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
  • Fixed Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints

Infotainment

BMW has done justice to its i3 variant by upgrading its infotainment system and it comes with the iDrive which is quite efficient and easy to use. The knobs are easy to reach from the driver’s seat keeping it in good proximity in terms of usage. Here's a list of infotainment features that you can enjoy with BMW's i3: - 

  • Harman Kardon system
  • Apple CarPlay 
  • Bluetooth
  • USB 
  • AUX
  • Integrated Roof Diversity Antenna
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio -inc: 1 year All Access subscription

Cargo Capacity

The BMW i3 has an average cargo capacity as it can only hold 15.1 cubic feet of space. Since the electric motor and generator are caged under the floor it minimizes the total cargo area. However, after folding the rear seats you'll be able to manage more items as the storage capacity of i3 double to 36.9 cubic feet of space. The loading height is also too high compared to its peers. The setup of its engine is offset by the high roof and absolutely flat folding rear seats. 

Model

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Cargo Volume (ft.3)

15.1

23.0

16.9

23.6

The BMW i3 offers less space than most of the rivals and comes close to the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf are somewhat similar in terms of cargo capacity.

2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback

2020 BMW i3 electric Exterior

5.0/10

Leaving the conventional BMW design the i3s looks boxy from certain angles which screams functionality. Their design has made rave reviews and its peers have been getting complex because of its attractive look. The short front and rear overhangs keep the design compact and the i3 stands out in the BMW lineup.

2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback Rear View

Its stretched-wheelbase may give you the impression that it is wide but when compared to its rivals it largely remains short. However, its height covers up its shortness just like the philosophy Chevrolet adopted for the Bolt EV. LED headlights with automatic high beams neatly house the signature kidney grille.

Model

BMW i3 120Ah hatchback

Hyundai Ioniq Electric hatchback

Chevrolet Bolt EV LT hatchback

Nissan LEAF S hatchback

Curb weight (lbs.)

2965

3164

3563

3433

Length(in)

158.3

176.0

164.0

176.4

Width(in)

69.9

71.7

69.5

70.5

Height(in)

62.9

57.1

62.8

61.4

Ground clearance (in)

N/A

5.5

N/A

5.9

Wheelbase (in)

101.2

106.3

102.4

106.3

Track width (in) F/R

61.9/62

61.2/61.6

59.1/59.1

60.6/61.2

The Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf are similar in length and width followed by the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The BMW i3 is the shortest among all.

Exterior Features

  • Wheels: 20" x 5.5" Front & 20" x 6.0" Rear -inc: BMW i light alloy double-spoke bicolor
  • Black Rear Bumper w/Body-Colored Rub Strip/Fascia Accent
  • Body-Coloured Front Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia Accent and Metal-Look Bumper Insert
  • Body-Coloured Door Handles
  • Coloured Bodyside Insert and Black Fender Flares
  • Fixed Rear Window w/Fixed Interval Wiper and Defroster
  • Speed Sensitive Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers
  • Composite Panels
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Perimeter/Approach Lights
  • Fully Automatic Projector Beam Led Low/High Beam Auto-Leveling Daytime Running Lights 
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback
2020 BMW i3 electric Hatchback

2020 BMW i3 electric Safety

The BMW 2020 i3 still doesn't have a crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the IIHS (from 2018) has given it a good score for several tests conducted by them. Alongside its crash test reliability, the i3 has some standard safety equipment like the rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. As per your trim choice, you can also include features like adaptive cruise control with stop and go capabilities, front parking sensors, and an active parking assistant can be included. 

  • Anti-theft alarm system 
  • Acoustic safety-belt warning 
  • BMW Assist eCall includes Emergency Request (SOS button) and Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification 
  • BMW Remote Services includes Stolen Vehicle Recovery, Remote Door Unlock, and BMW Connected App Compatibility 
  • Programmable LED Daytime Running Lights 
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) 
  • Impact sensor that activates Battery Safety Terminal disconnect of the starter generator 
  • Front and rear Head Protection System (HPS) 
  • Driver's and passenger's front airbag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with advanced technology 
  • Seat-mounted front side-impact airbags 
  • Front safety belts with automatic pretensioners 
  • Front-passenger-seat-occupation recognition with Passenger's Airbag Off indicator 
  • Coded Driveaway Protection 
  • Automatic-locking retractors (ALR) on all passenger safety belts for installation of child-restraint seat 
  • LATCH attachments for child-restraint safety installation 

2020 BMW i3 electric Competition

Hyundai Ioniq Electric  Vs BMW i3 

The Hyundai Ioniq comes with best in class cargo capacity an MPG figures. The BMW certainly has better build quality than the Ioniq and offers better performance. The i3 is priced much higher than the Ioniq which be the deciding factor for people with a tight budget. So if Practicality and Frugality is your demand, the Ioniq has its nose ahead otherwise i3 is the performance champ.

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Chevrolet Bolt EV Vs BMW i3 

The Chevrolet Bolt has a more all-electric range and more powerful than most plug-in hybrids. It also comes equipped with plenty of safety features and advanced tech. It impresses you with its nimble handling and is easy to drive around cities. However, it may be a bit problematic or tricky to park the vehicle since the car's nose is hard to see. Like many of its peers, it suffers from compromised cabin space.

The Bolt is less spacious than the i3 and cabin also feel cheaper. Chevrolet Bolt is much value for money while the i3 seems overpriced.

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Nissan Leaf Vs BMW i3 

Nissan Leaf is among the first and foremost hybrids introduced to the world of petrol addicts. The leaf comes with 110 miles of electric range which is way lower than the BMW i3. The Bimmer certainly has a higher range with its range extender gasoline engine. The Leaf is more spacious and offers higher cargo space than the i3 so practicality is your concern go with the Leaf.

2020 Nissan Leaf

2020 BMW i3 electric Final Verdict

5.8/10

The BMW i3 seems too pricey for an electric car which doesn’t seem like the smartest move. The i3 may seem a bit expensive but the interior quality and modern design make it stand out of the box and justifies its high price. The EV range is similar to most of the rivals the range extender is a boon. The i3 boasts an intriguing mix of high-quality and eco-friendly material with typical BMW build quality. The acceleration is peppy with nimble handling and healthy MPG rating.

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