BMW I3 variants
Total price
Monthly payment
Figures are based on a 20% deposit

Finance representative example (PCP)

Total cash price £16,999. Borrowing £13,599 with a £3,400 deposit at a representative APR of 9.9%.

49 monthly payments
Fixed interest rate
Total amount payable
Cost of credit
Optional final payment
Annual mileage limit
6000 miles

BMW i3 buying guide

The BMW i3 is an EV with stylish looks and a modern cabin that squeezes a surprising amount of passenger space out of its city-car footprint. It’s also quick, nimble and perfect for town driving. Beneath the futuristic styling, the i3 is a clever bit of kit. The chassis is made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) – similar to what you’d find underpinning a McLaren supercar – and the cab-forward stance maximises interior roominess.

What BMW i3 trim levels are there?

The BMW i3 was launched in 2014 with a one-model range. Standard kit included sat nav, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, remote central locking and digital radio. The sportier i3 S model went on sale in 2018 and, as well as getting extra power, gives you 10mm lower suspension and a body kit.

BMW i3 interior and technology

Stepping inside the i3 highlights how forward-thinking and radical it was. Eco-friendly materials take precedence where possible, and the dashboard is designed to feel open. The result is a cockpit that’s like nothing else on the road.

The 10.25-inch centre screen is large, plus you get crisp and colourful graphics. Its standard display is not a touchscreen but the iDrive controller between the front seats is easy to use, allowing you to navigate through its menus when driving without having to take your eyes off the road. Downsides? Well, Apple CarPlay was a cost option so it won’t be fitted on all cars. Android Auto was never offered on the i3. 

That said, you do get automatic emergency brakes, six airbags and stability control as standard, while the optional Driving Assistant Plus pack added active cruise control and traffic jam assist. 

BMW i3 engine range explained

BMW i3 125kW 42kWh

The standard i3 has a smallish 42kWh battery but, as it’s relatively light by EV standards, it boasts a decent range. Officially you’ll manage up to 189 miles from a full charge, which should be plenty for anyone who can recharge at home. Power stands at 171hp, and even the regular i3 feels exhilaratingly nippy at lower speeds.

BMW i3 S 135kW 42kWh

The BMW i3 S has the same battery but with a more powerful electric motor. Upping power to 185hp reduces the 0-62mph time by nearly half a second. Its range is only marginally less at 175 miles.

Your BMW i3 questions answered

The BMW i3 is only available as a five-door hatchback, which sounds fairly conventional until you realise the rear doors hinge from the back – like on a Rolls Royce – giving you unhindered access to the back seats.

BMW launched the i3 in 2014 and, as the design was so fresh then, little visually has changed since. Under the skin though, the i3’s battery range has steadily improved and newer models get a smarter interior with improved infotainment. The sporty i3s model launched in 2018, while the range-extender (REX) model with a small petrol engine as a backup was dropped a year later. The i3 went off sale entirely in 2022, but don’t fear if you want an electric BMW – the i4, iX1 and iX3 are all set to be in Motorpoint showrooms soon.

Here’s a fun fact for trivia fans. The BMW i3 is the shortest BMW since 1991’s Z1, and must be one of the smallest cars in the German brand’s history. It’s barely over four metres long, but it feels like a much bigger car inside. You feel like you’ve got plenty of space, because the dashboard is so open and the seats are wafer-thin. Models with light-coloured upholstery manage to feel that bit more spacious than ones with darker interiors.

The i3’s 260-litre boot is decent enough and easy to load, although there’s nowhere you can neatly store the car’s charge cables. It’s a strict four-seater, too, but both rear seats have Isofix child-seat mounting points.

The range-extender i3 was the only version to have an engine, and then it was only used to charge the battery. More recent i3 models are electric-only, giving silent and nippy driving. There are two to pick: the standard model and the more powerful i3 S.

You can charge a BMW i3 using a Type 2 connector – that’s a slower type of connector used at home wallboxes, workplaces and some public locations – which typically charges at around 7kW. That’ll add around 30 miles of range per hour, and a full charge will take around six hours. At home, a three-pin plug socket can be used to charge up the i3, but this takes considerably longer.

The i3 has a CCS connector for out and about, and a 49kW charging capability. Plug into a suitable fast-charger and you’ll be able to top up from 20-80% charge in 40 minutes.

Read our guide to charging your EV at home for more information.

The BMW i3 sits in groups 28 and 29 out of 50, so you will have to factor insurance into your running cost calculations. Its rating is largely due to the possibility of expensive repair bills in the event of a claim. Still, it’ll cost a similar amount in insurance to other BMWs, while many other electric cars sit in a similar bracket.

Maintenance is one area that electric cars present savings versus petrol and diesel cars. The i3 has a two-year/18,000-mile service interval – most fuel-powered cars have to be serviced every year. BMW offers a service plan for the i3, which is cheaper than any of the brand’s petrol cars.

Like many electric cars, the BMW i3 has far fewer moving parts than a petrol or diesel car, and a less complex powertrain. This is good news for reliability, and reports suggest that the i3 is largely reliable. Anecdotal evidence seems to point to the fully electric i3 being a little more reliable than the petrol-engined i3 Range Extender.