February 12, 2014

The tendency with electric cars is to somehow think of them as not just fuel efficient and quiet, but slow as well.  But, when dealing with the new BMW i3, nothing could be further from the truth.  True, this is a ground-breaking vehicle, both in terms of sustainable construction and minimum carbon footprint, but it’s also a BMW… and the blood (or electrons) of generations of “Ultimate Driving Machines” runs through its veins.


Speaking from personal experience test-driving the i3 – though not to this extreme – you would expect the car to drive smoothly, and it does.  But you wouldn’t expect it to be quite so peppy, or to corner so well, and it does both of those extremely well.  So the environmentally-friendly automotive future has nothing to do with the ‘transportation pods’ that all the enthusiasts feared, and everything to do with a new definition of performance – with the same old kinetic thrills.

Utilizing radical new construction techniques that allow the car to be built almost entirely of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic – the same material used for stealth bombers and Formula One cars — the 2014 BMW i3 is a subcompact, five-door, four-passenger EV that weighs 2,700 pounds, 500 pounds less than the BM 1 Series.  The i3 has a range of 80 – 100 miles, but retains BMW’s claim to ‘the Ultimate Driving Machine’ with spirited 0 to 60 mph acceleration in just 7.2 seconds.

The electric motor provides 170 horsepower, and the range can be extended by an optional ‘range extender,’ a two-cylinder gasoline engine from BMW’s motorcycle division, that can provide electrical power once the batteries have been depleted.  Recharging the lithium-ion battery pack to 100 percent takes about three hours and the tank for the gasoline engine holds only 2.5 gallons… so a fill-up at today’s prices would run you about eight bucks.

The first production BMW i3’s will be delivered to Braman BMW in the second quarter of 2014.  Three trim levels will be offered – Mega World, Giga World and Tera World – starting at $41,350 (the i3 will be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit).  All three trim levels include the ConnectedDrive system, Intelligent eCall, i Remote app, trim-specific 19-inch wheels, a 7.4 kW onboard charger and LED headlights. The main differences are in interior materials and equipment. The Range Extender i3 model with the on-board gasoline engine will start at $45,200.

For additional information, or to place an early order for the all-new BMW i3, please visit Braman BMW in West Palm Beach.

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