The 2021 BMW i3 is an electric compact sedan that can quickly accelerate, handles well, and looks futuristic. Its downside is the range.
The 2021 BMW i3 looks unique and accelerates quickly. It has rear-wheel drive (RWD) and was one of the first EVs on the market. However, it doesn’t compare with other electric cars, though.
The starting price is $44,450, which is more than or comparable with other EVs that have better batteries and more range.
It has a nice interior and is geared towards someone who uses it for commuting in the city. It’s also easy to park, which is essential for the city.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Pros and cons
- Unique styling and smooth handling.
- Well-designed interior.
- Full charge in less than 6 hours.
- Pricier than competitors.
- Short driving range.
- The rear seats are tight.
New for 2021
BMW introduced the i3 in 2014 as one of the first electric cars on the market. Over the years, BMW has made enhancements to it.
For 2021, the adaptive LED headlights come standard, technology had a few updates, and it’s made with more eco-focused materials. Other than that, there aren’t any major changes.
The pricing based on trim levels are as follows:
- i3 starts at $44,450.
- i3 with Range Extender starts at $48,300.
- i3s starts at $47,650.
- i3s with Range Extender starts at $51,500.
The 2-cylinder gasoline Range Extender option allows you to continue driving after the battery is depleted. Even with the gas-powered backup addition, the i3 doesn’t go as far as other EVs.
The best and most cost-effective trim level would be the i3 at $44,450. For slightly more, you can get the i3s, which is designed to give you a more thrilling driving experience.
Range and charging
The 2021 BMW i3 and i3s have a range of 153 miles. If you get the Range Extender option, you’ll be able to go an extra 47 miles for a total of 200 miles.
The range isn’t the strong point of the BMW i3. It has fallen behind when you compare to where others are at. Tesla’s Model 3 has up 353 miles of range, and the Chevrolet Bolt EV has 259 miles of range.
While the range isn’t as great, it does charge relatively quickly. It has a 42 kWh battery, and in less than 6 hours, the i3 can be fully charged and ready to go.
You can use public charging stations or at home with the BMW Wallbox, which charges up to 80% in 5 hours. Once in a while, you can also use the Occasional Use Cable, which works with any standard wall socket.
One of the best parts of the i3 is the interior. It has nice colors, textures, is made with renewable wood, recycled plastics, and sustainable fibers.
The front seats are spacious and heated. The rear seats feel a bit cramped and aren’t heated. If you don’t plan on driving with rear passengers, you’ll be happy with the open and airy feel of the cabin.
The i3 feels open and airy because of how the doors are designed. Its rear doors are hinged at the back, which causes them to open in the opposite direction of the front doors. Rear-hinged doors eliminate the B-pillar, so it feels more spacious.
If you need to carry large items in the back, there are 36.9 cubic feet of space when you lower the rear seats. Otherwise, you’ll have 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space without the rear seats lowered.
Aside from comfort and space, there’s a clean and simple infotainment system. The interior looks modern and is well-designed.
Safety is one of the most important aspects of a car. Overall, the i3 is great when it comes to safety.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did a crash test, which had great results. It hasn’t been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) yet. However, there aren’t any recalls, investigations, or complaints.
It’s built well, as it’s made with an aluminum Drive Module and Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). It creates a strong protective layer around the cabin, and the aluminum subframe lowers the center of gravity to ensure it doesn’t tip over.
The i3 also has several driver-assistance features, such as the following:
- Adaptive cruise control.
- Forward collision warning.
- Acoustic pedestrian protection.
- Rear-view camera.
- Park Distance Control.
When it comes to safety, the BMW i3 is a good car.
BMW’s 2021 i3 has a simple infotainment system. Compared to the large touchscreen displays that other automakers offer, it has a small 6.5-inch screen. You can upgrade it to the 10.25-inch screen, though.
It has Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, and a USB audio connection. The downside is that it doesn’t work with Android Auto, and there’s only one USB port.
The following are details about the warranty for the 2021 BMW i3:
- BMW Ultimate Care.
- 12-year unlimited mileage rust perforation limited warranty.
- 8-year or 100,000-mile high-voltage battery warranty.
- 4-year or 50,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty.
- 4-year unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.
Each i3 has a total range of 153 miles with a 42.24 kWh battery. There are 39.8 inches of headroom, 40.5 inches of legroom in the front, and 31.9 inches in the back. The following are specs based on the trim.
The entry-level i3 has a 0 to 60 mph time of 7.2 seconds, a top speed of 93 mph, and at 4,800 RPM, it hits 168 horsepower. It also has 19-inch wheels and all-season tires.
If you get the Range Extender option, the 0 to 60 mph time increases to 8 seconds. However, the range increases from 153 miles to a total of 200 miles.
With the i3s, the 0 to 60 mph time is 6.8 seconds, which is slightly faster. It also has a top speed of 99 mph. The i3s has 20-inch wheels, which seem large for the car, but it actually drives well with them.
With Range Extender, it’s a bit slower. The 0 to 60 mph time is 7.6 seconds, and the top speed remains the same.
The 2021 BMW i3 is a decent car. It has futuristic styling, a comfortable interior, and handles well. If you’re looking for a car that can get you through the city and easily park it with street parking, it’s worth a look.
The drawback is the range and price. You can get an EV with more range at a lower or similar price. Before you buy the i3, check out other EVs.
Featured image courtesy of BMW.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of EV Unleashed, the leading resource for electric vehicle news, reviews, and buyer’s guides. He launched EV Unleashed to provide unbiased and in-depth news and reviews about electric vehicles and the EV industry.