The 2015 BMW i3 hatchback is a vehicle that steps out of the familiar world of BMW and ventures out to conquer yet another different world of motoring. It steps out into the world of electric vehicles and goes forward to prove that it can take the front wheel as an innovator in the segment.
2015 BMW i3 Exterior
The BMW i3 2015 is offered in two trim levels i.e. the base and the Range Extender. Each trim features three sub-trims which are Mega World, Giga World and Tera World.
Compared to BMW SUVs and sedans we are accustomed to, this car looks like an alien from another automaker except for its signature twin-kidney grille. The grille itself features a blue hue which is a common feature on all “i” models. This color referred to as Frozen Blue by the automaker is also featured on the tailgate, the hood and the roof. The front also features a snub nose which combines with its wide stance, large wheels and tall profile to give the vehicle an aggressive look.
On the sides, the vehicle features large and stout door handles which complement its image. There is also a deep dip in its beltline that makes its windows on the rear doors taller. The rear is a little mixed up with many design elements. It features U-shaped taillights which are hidden under darkened glass and are outlined with straight and curved shapes while the rear fascia and bumper shield appear to be sweptback. The i3 rides on 19-inch alloy wheels. Both headlights and taillights utilize the LED technology.
2015 BMW i3 Interior
The cabin of this 4-seat hatchback has a styling different from other BMW vehicles. It features Scandinavian modern furniture and offers plenty of leg and head room as well as sufficient cargo space. When the rear seats are standing, the cargo space measures 15.1 cubic feet and expand to 36.8 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. It also has a 10.2-inch touch-screen central display screen which the driver controls by an iDrive knob mounted on the console.
There is also a smaller screen behind the steering wheel which displays important information such as speed to the driver. The interior upholstery depends on the trim chosen. The basic Mega World features recycled SensaTec upholstery.
The Mega World also features heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, satellite radio and HD radio.
The Giga World adds a mix of active-climate wool and olive-leaf tanned leather. This upholstery is enhanced by soft earth tones, a leather instrument panel and open-pore eucalyptus styling. It also features keyless ignition, a sunroof and universal garage door opener.
The top trim Tera World offers similar styling as the Giga but features a very dark brown hue. Though there are plastic elements in all trims, they fall in the background as the other novel materials take center stage.
All models will have an option for the Technology and Driving Assistant package. This package features an upgraded iDrive system with touchpad interface, USB connectivity, Bluetooth audio, forward collision warning system and adaptive cruise control. There is also a Parking Assist package which offers a self-parking system, front parking sensors and a rear-view camera. All models have an option for a Harman Kardon audio system and 20-inch wheels.
Engine Specs and performance
Under the hood of the 2015 BMW i3 is an electric motor backed by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The output of this motor is placed at 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. There is an optional 0.6 L, 2-cylinder petrol engine which backs up the batteries when they are critically low. The gasoline engine is rated at 38 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque.
The new 2015 BMW i3 accelerates from 0-60 mph in 7 seconds and reach a top speed of 92 mph.
Unlike hybrid engines where the conventional engine sends power direct to wheels, the i3 one recharges the electric motor which in turn sends the power to the wheels. The batteries can be recharged in three different ways; you can use your ordinary household outlet which will take 20 hours, a special 240- volt outlet which takes only 4 hours and if you think that is fast, you are in for a shock because there is a standard fast charger that enables full recharging in only 30 minutes. This charger is offered in compatible charging stations. EPA rates the engine with 81 miles range on a full charge. The range extender increases the range to 150 miles.
However, the electric driving range of models with the range extender drops to 72 miles due to the excess weight (330 pounds) of the gasoline engine which increases the vehicle’s curb weight. When translated to mpg equivalent (mpge) the engine is rated at 124 mpge and 117 mpge for models with the range extender.
These figures are quite impressive; however, though the i3 outshines the 2016 Chevrolet Volt which is rated at 98 mpge, the Chevy dwarfs it with its 380 miles range. The engine is offered with three driving modes which are tailor made to conserve charge as required, they are; Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO +.
Price of BMW i3 2015
To get your hands on this electric automobile from BMW, you have to part with $ 43,350 MSRP for the base model and $ 47,200 for the top trim with a range extender.