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2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, there's a bit of hell froze over feeling to it, but we bought an i3.

The basic thought process was this...
1) inbound baby in a couple weeks
2) baby's are disgusting and ruin cars
3) I don't want them ruining any of the M cars
4) I can't stand to routinely drive an SUV
5) a slightly used (CPO 2017 in this case) i3 is cheap enough that the money we're not spending on gas 100% (and then some) costs the cost of it over 3-4 years, so long as we actually drive the thing
6) They are also essentially maintenance free driving (so long as you don't get the REX), which will be useful to my decreased free time. No engine, fuel system, transmission, etc vastly cuts down on upkeep. E.g. BMW's free maintenance covers two things on this car-- wiper blades and brake fluid

The i3 is kind of a cool car in a lot of ways, and strangely similar to old school (e30 era) BMWs in some ways. Ways that would be much cooler with a high revving, NA engine, but cool either way. E.g.
-Carbon monocoque
-all the panels are plastic or CF.
-total weight of <2800 lbs for a full functional 4 seat car (took it to dinner in comfort last night with me (6'4), my brother (6'6), my super pregnant wife, and my brother's wife)
-rear wheel drive
-50:50 weight distro
-super stiff chassis
-instant throttle response
-tons of green house/glass
-super low COG

My option needs were pretty specific:
-94aH battery (so 2017 or later)
-No REX (adds 300 lbs, maintenance, seemingly 99% of the failure points)
-HK stereo (because my wife really cares)
-no sunroof
-"tera world" (for the leather interior, instead of cloth interior)
-never smoked in or had an air freshener installed
-not silver
-20" wheels... because that's the way you can get summers (as opposed to all seasons).

Since most cars are REX and/or have the cloth interior, it was actually pretty tough to find a car. I quickly gave up on finding one locally (seems like very few were sold in this part of the country). After 6 months, I finally found a car in Florida that met my needs. M3F member Dave B went over to check the car out for me, test drive it, and make sure it didn't have any evidence of a former life owned by a smoker or air freshener user (it didn't). So, after 2 weeks of the dealership being the worst I've ever dealt with Lauderdale BMW Pembroke Pines), it arrived at my door :)

Pictures from the dealer:

Random fun photo of the chassis I found:

Wired up the garage with a 240v charger (0%-100% in ~4.5 hours):


Car in the garage for the first time:

Until the kid arrives, I'll be using it for my daily ~100 mile commute. Including today. Initial impressions:
-the car feels incredibly solid.
-It's weird to drive an EV by a real car company. Previously I've only driven ones that... aren't quite complete cars yet
-it's not slow.
-it feels rwd, in every way you'd hope for
-steering feel is typical EPS, aka not great
-no engine sound is very strange. Great for DD, remarkably detracting from driving hard
-94mph top speed is seriously annoying. I'm going to try to get that removed, or at least raised the i3s's (same engine and battery) 100mph.
-interior, in tera world form, is really nice
-my driving style is not efficient. The Connected Drive app rates your driving efficiency on a scale of 1-5 stars. I'm averaging 1/2 of a star.
-regen braking takes some getting used to. It also makes the car feel strangely heavy, as if there's a ton of friction slowing you down

Since every single person asks me why I got this instead of a model 3, here are the reasons:
-Build quality
-weight (the i3 is 900-1300 lbs lighter than the model 3, depending on which battery you get in the model 3)
-price (I paid ~half the price of a stripper (no option) Model 3)
-back seat space (specifically head room-- all Tesla's are pretty useless there)
-part support (exists, unlike Tesla).

The video of the car being produced really triggered my wanter :roll:

BMW I3 Production - Leipzig - YouTube


2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
3000 miles into i3 ownership, here are my complaints:
-I strongly dislike iDrive. It's super inefficient and distracting to get to anything. I'm going to do the retrofit CarPlay module largely so I can stop using it.
-there's no next track button on the steering wheel. If you want to go to the next track, without taking your hands off the wheel, the procedure is click in scroll wheel, turn down one (with poor tactile feedback) on the cluster list, click in a second time... and then it fails 1 time in 5. Instead I end up reaching for the head unit next track button, which is far enough away that I have to take my eyes off the road to look at it every time. Terrible removal-- next track is easily the most used buttons on the steering wheels on my other cars.
-the door pocket sticks out too far from the door and hits my leg
-EPS remains EPS-- garbage.
-no Michelin tire option
-94mph top speed is frustrating almost every time I drive it
-no regen when the battery is full makes for an inconsistent driving experience-- when I leave the neighborhood, the car drives/brakes distinctly differently than every other time I'm driving it.
-stock high beams are garbage (maybe not for MY2019+, when they changed them to biLED, but mine only had LED lowbeams). I've swapped the halogen highs for LED reflector housing highs, but haven't had a chance to drive it in the dark since then... we'll see. I'm not super optimistic.
-comfort access: when the car is on, the buttons on the fob should be non functional. The number of times I've popped the trunk because I shifted position in the seat, and my pants hit the pop trunk button, is asinine.
-comfort access: why the **** am I still carrying a key around? My phone and/or watch should be able to handle all the comfort access functionality ala Tesla. Thankfully it doesn't use the "upgraded" key from some of their other cars

2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Things I do like:
-babies like a champion. The child seat is easy to load (as long as you have the space to work the suicide doors, plenty of space in the back for my wife to sit with the kid, enough space so far for all the gear
-uses little enough electricity that we haven't noticed a difference on our power bill
-undefeated in traffic light drag races
-a silent car is relaxing
-light weight and instant accelerator response make it enjoyable if I find myself on an unplanned back road (planned back roads see M cars), even if the EPS is EPS.
-being super quiet means you get more auditory feedback from the tires, as you approach/exceed their limits
-the chassis is stiff like a bank vault.
-bluetooth phone call sound quality is amazing with the lack of engine noise
-LED low beams are pretty good-- better than any factory BMW Xenon I've used... still worse than every other car I own
-I actually like the electric motor acceleration noises :p
-accelerator pedal response is great
-any time you're not on the highway it feels quite quick. Most people emit a "holy ****" at least once on their first ride.
-I still have yet to have any range anxiety, have not used a public charger, and never driven it in a slightly efficient manner other than not G loading the baby (when on board)
-it's super easy to justify driving anywhere/everywhere, when the cost is effectively ~$0.

2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
And since everyone asks about the range, I'd describe it as follows:
100% sufficient for everything that isn't taking a road trip. 100% insufficient for a road trip.

We've not yet had to alter our plan or driving style, or use a public charger, with the car. Since it always starts the day full, and very rarely do you drive more than 130 miles locally (and since I charge it at work), it's always sufficient.

But, the range:
On my all highway, at the speed limiter driving cycle it gets ~95 miles of range.
With my wife's around town cycle, it gets ~185 miles of range. Both in full power, full AC mode, with no consideration given to efficiency.

It's actually pretty nice not going to the gas station twice a week
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