of the 2016 BMW i3. Base trim shown.
From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team
- Ride comfort
- Overall range with gasoline extender
- Cabin space
- Urban-friendly dimensions, turning circle
- Low-grip tires
- Bluetooth audio, backup camera not standard
- Relatively high price
- Range extender recommends premium gas
- No AM radio
New limited-edition Shadow Sport Edition
All-electric four-seat hatchback
EPA-estimated 81-mile range
150 miles with optional gasoline range extender
Recharge time of 3 hours at Level 2
What Is the 2016 BMW i3?
The 2016 BMW i3 is a four-seat electric hatchback that competes with vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen e-Golf and Chevrolet Volt. The rear-wheel-drive 2016 BMW i3 comes in two trim levels: a Base trim that has a range of 81 miles according to the EPA, and the Base with a gasoline-powered generator that reduces electric range to 72 miles but extends overall range to 150 miles according to the EPA.
What's New on the 2016 BMW i3?
There aren't any significant new features on the 2016 i3, but BMW did offer a 50-unit release of a Shadow Sport Edition featuring black exterior paint, 19-inch wheels, a sport suspension and a moonroof.
How Does the 2016 BMW i3 Compare to Other Electric Hatchbacks?
The i3 may appeal to some environmentally conscious, status-oriented drivers who are willing to pay a premium for the BMW brand over a Nissan or a Chevy. However, the BMW i3 offers less electric range at a higher price, making other electric hatchbacks a better value.
What Features in the 2016 BMW i3 Are Most Important?
The i3's standard charging time is 3.5 hours at Level 2 - 240 volts and adequate current - but public DC fast charging capability provides an 80 percent charge in less than 20 minutes. The BMW i3's only traction motor is a 170-horsepower electric motor, and it comes standard with a 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a one-speed automatic transmission. The i3 comes with standard luxury features including a navigation system, heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, a 50/50-split folding backseat and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Its exterior includes LED headlights and taillights, as well as traditional front doors and rear-hinged back doors.
The i3 offers a number of available safety features, including a backup camera, adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning system. Drivers can also upgrade the i3 with luxury features including leather upholstery and Bluetooth audio streaming. The available 34-hp two-cylinder gas engine-generator adds an EPA-estimated 78 miles of range per fill-up.
As is required in every new car, the 2016 BMW i3 comes with standard front airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system.
Should I Buy the 2016 BMW i3?
The 2016 BMW i3 is spacious and comfortable, and its turning circle and compact size make it suitable for city driving. Its acceleration is satisfying, and it gets good overall range with the available gasoline extender. If you're willing to pay a higher price for a more comfortable electric hatchback, it's worth a test drive.
However, it's most viable with the range extender generator - which not only costs more and reduces EV range, but also prefers premium gas and requires midgrade as a minimum. The lack of standard Bluetooth audio, an AM radio and a backup camera also means you'll have to pay more for features you'd find standard elsewhere. Finally, its low-grip tires make for unreliable driving in certain conditions.
Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.
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Our view: 2016 BMW i3
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Shifting from gas to electric was the right move
Performs beyond my expectations/drives and responds exceptionally/my wife loves it/the vehicle we need to get around town/now we are making a contribution to the environment Read full review
2014 BMW i3 Rex
Best car I've owned so far! With a 70 mile electric range with 60 mile gas backup range it serves great as a daily driver and weekend getaway car! Read full review
48 months / 50,000 miles
48 months / 50,000 miles
48 months / unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned Elite with less than 15,000 miles; Certified Pre-Owned with less than 60,000 miles
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Dealer Certification Required