We Tested The BMW I3, an Electric Conducting Us Much of What Is to Come

One of electric vehicles that, by design and conducting of advanced technologies, most striking today is the BMW i3. Since the opening of doors to the interior, passing through its reliable system so you park only, this single car available as electrical or as electrical autonomy extended thanks to the use of a gasoline engine that supports the main, It has passed through the hands of Engadget.

If you want to know our experience driving the BMW i3 and taking advantage of technology that incorporates, the time has come. You only have to continue reading.

BMW i3, two base models to choose

To warm can be said that the BMW i3 It’s a electric car that, as you have been progressing, is available in two versions, only electric or even electric extended-range. I.e. that, or has its battery is recharging with a plug, either has a small gasoline engine for when the battery is empty, it can generate electricity with that engine with which continue to operate a few kilometers more.

Obviously the two versions are not worth the same, which has extended-range costing 4400 pounds more. At Engadget have tested the BMW ‘normal’ i3, which is electric only. Regardless of these two versions there are four levels of interior finish and multiple colors and options to set up the car to the taste of each.

So is driving a BMW i3

BMW i3, either the only electric version or the extended-range version, has in both cases a power of 170 HP. And that is a lot for a car of this kind. It is a car built with a combination of aluminum, plastic and carbon fiber parts, and that makes it light enough despite being electric (weighs less than 1200 kg under vacuum). By the way, out of curiosity you can see several videos showing manufacturing process.

So between their size, weight, and more still because those 170 HP are “electric horse” and the way in which delivery is the power and torque, instantly, without delay in hit, does that seem more, and that speeding up thoroughly you attempt on the seat. If you prefer figures that know that it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds.

The marches)as if it were a car with traditional automatic, P-r – N-D), are inserted with a fair control behind the wheel. Visually it is a bit strange, but it is very comfortable.

The motor is very quiet. When driving at low speed is hardly heard, and to accelerate to fund a sound between hiss and buzz that makes you imagine that you are on board a Spaceship. It’s fun and makes you smile.

Sticks thing to mention is that at high speed on Highway is notice anything aerodynamic noise of the wind against the car. I suspect that to be high and that the windows are type coupé, without frame, makes that a little more noticeable noise.

It must be recognized that such power is not strictly required under normal conditions in a car of this type, but the advantage of an electric motor is not you spend if you ask you spent, and have the power there, in case, for example for quickly perform overtaking, is very well.

With a gasoline or diesel engine, in general terms more big and powerful, more consumed, and additionally although not accelerating strong or go fast, you will consume, even if it is to be idle or continue on (e.g. the stop-start was invented precisely for the engine off at stops, and save a little).

This does not happen to an electric motor. If you do not accelerate not spend absolutely nothing, and if you accelerate with moderation, spends very little, much as if it were a smaller engine. In fact at the end of the test the average consumption turned out to be of 15.5 kWh/100 km, the same that we have obtained in similar circumstances with other electric cars, even though they have less power.

This energy consumption comes to be a quarter of what would consume an equivalent petrol car (whereas 6.5 l / 100 km). By the way, the German certification agency TUV has made BMW life cycle analysis i3 (since it is manufactured until it is recycled) and proved that if generates fewer emissions than a conventional car.

The autonomy approved in Europe is of 190 km, in the case of the BMW electric i3, which we tested. The extended-range approves less electrical autonomy, 170 km, because weight which adds the small gasoline engine made of ballast, slightly increases consumption and in addition also reduces somewhat the acceleration.

During the test, with a normal driving, but stop using the air conditioner could do the order of up to 125 km approximately, that although it is not much, at least allowed us to leave the province of Madrid to Guadalajara, and back, without weighing between.

Series BMW i3 only brings a recharge, the occasional connector cable (home plug) schuko

It is a utilitarian, although it may not seem it

We think that although at first glance it seems larger than it is, especially since it is quite wide and high, it really is a utility of 3.99 m long. I.e., it is a small car from those well coming to the city to not have so many problems to Park.

It has a body with form almost minivan, quite high, with little nose. As the electric motor and power control and load add-ins occupy little space, these are placed in the back, under the boot. There also would be, at his side, small Extender petrol engine of autonomy.

And so the nose of it can reduce size without problems, because then you don’t have to go nothing, and so we come to this way (well, there is something, like a minimaletero which comes in very handy to carry charging cables). Apart from this your design quite striking, and between this and that car is just down the street, one easily becomes the center of attention. Also have a design that is very modern and even futuristic.

And can attest to this because while we had the car for a week and use it in day to day in Madrid and surroundings (even outside the province) and that people turn to look, even stopped to ask about the car and how it worked, or They even took us pictures from another car in the M30.

And it is that forms of different parts of the car are quite unique and daring. For example all the BMW i3 are painting bicolor, with the hood, the roof and the boot in black, and the rest of the parts in the paint color that you choose. Emphasizes also the bottom line of windows which descends and climbs capriciously, instead of being a traditional continuous line, or the rear, where the gate is finished in glass.

The rims the car they are also very large, What is rather more than usual in a car of this size. This is so because mounted higher but narrower wheels that turn out to be more aerodynamic and help to consume less energy.

The unit of BMW i3 the brand we gave for testing was a beautiful but daring Orange metallic, with the corresponding parts in black, several details in Matt aluminium, and huge 20-inch alloy wheels. Look at the difference: a normal car of this size would have 15 or 16-inch wheels.

Doors that open up all the side

Another aspect of design of the BMW i3 allowing bragging with friends are the doors. It is a car of five doors (counting the trunk gate), but a bit special. The front is open as always, i.e. they are hinged to the front, but the rear open back, furthermore there is no pillar B, i.e. the central upright between the doors. Record, to be fair, it is not the first car which does this.

This way when you open the front door and the back around the side of the car is open, what makes easier entering and exiting. Anyway this is very cool, there is a snag: in reality it is rather a car of “three gates and a half” to five.

It turns out that It is essential to first open the front door to open the rear door, because this close on that one, and up or down also, it is essential that the occupant of the front square is removed the belt, because if not, becomes by means, and not will happen, unless we do some juggling.

In addition the backrests of the front seats is can be folded slightly forward to facilitate the upload or download from the rear seats.

While seeing him outwardly looks like one that the car is more big than it really is, when you enter inside tends to think otherwise, which is somewhat smaller than it really is.

This is most noticeable in the rear seats that in the front seats. Front one is comfortable, with enough height and generous offal. As there is an extension of the central console in the Middle, on the ground between the two seats, there is even a feeling of more space, and the legs since then have more clearance.

The rear seats are rather more fair space, although an adult can accommodate reasonably well if it is not very high. The main handicap is that you just two seater, or four in total, whereas it is a car of this size to have three seats back, for a total of five seats.

What can hit more than one is to getting into the car interior headroom coming to be very similar to the of a traditional utility, but to see it out as high a little more height was also expected in.

This is so because to enter one also realizes another thing, the floor is higher than it seems. In fact one gets and stays at a height that is more similar to that of a SUV or small off-roader (SUV are called also), which in a utilitarian.

This sobrealtura that has soil is due to the lithium-ion battery It stores electrical energy to run the engine is placed under the floor of the cockpit, and generates this screed.

Motley and futuristic Interior

Inside you can also breathe that very modern atmosphere and futuristic also perceived abroad. In the unit that occupies us, that we can understand how the highest finish, and it was also full of optional equipment, indoor environment was of the finest, friendly and sophisticated.

Just quote that you came with an elegant chocolate with two textures-brown leather upholstery, a very thin, leather which also lined part of the doors and dashboard. But in addition it also had wood eucalyptus in the dashboard, screen large, panoramic, color and high resolution, but not touch, multimedia system with GPS navigation, the glass roof, and several other elements.

Creates a special sense the interior lighting, Orange or white, to choose, to shooters and holes for objects of the doors and at the bottom of the Center screen. When you open the car there is light in the exterior door handles and the interior light turns on in blue, for after a few seconds change to white.

This is the car key

The glass roof seems continuous on the outside, but inside are two parts, one for the driver and one for the front passenger. It is stained and has also a bumper for the Sun. You can open to ventilate and cool the car. It’s nice to have a glass roof, there is more light in the cockpit and invites you to take the time to look through, for example, that beautiful building, or a starry sky.

The interior is complex surfaces and forms that have, and by how combine very different materials such as plastic, different textures, smoother or more rugged, compact material of resins and vegetable fibres, leather, wood… It is a matter of taste, but he liked, although such complexity of surfaces results in a little drawback: is more laborious to clean dust.

According to interior finish that is chosen, rather than a dark brown inside a beige interior, can be grey or black, and also non-wood, or with upholstery fabric, so everyone is comfortable inside your car.

The BMW i3 Park it only to 99%

If you how to move this car suggests modernity and future (with electricity), and the exterior and interior design also makes it, the technology that incorporates, the most optional, does the same. The list is long.

I would highlight, because still I have not tested a system so complete yet (but eye, I am not saying that you there), the system of automatic parking. And I say, automatic and semi-automatic not, nor parking Assistant, because performs by itself only the entire manoeuvre of parking. At least a 99%, while other common systems that are spreading come to make it to 50% (they rotate the steering wheel, but nothing else, the driver has to insert the marches, acceleration and braking).

We tried it several times in Madrid and generally works pretty well, although not always recognized the first site to Park.

To pass in front of an empty plaza system recognizes the hollow and tells you that you stand. As you put the flashing and press, it all begins. That Yes, the driver must be in the car and has that hold the button during the entire manoeuvre.

It is a security system, something like a panic button: the driver is still responsible for what make the car, and you have to monitor it works well, so if at any time you notice a danger that the car can not see, as parking sensors have their limit, or something goes wrong, release the button , and the car is for.

But except this, the driver does not have to do anything else: the car the steering wheel turned to what is necessary, and also, and this do not other parking assistance systems, insert reverse gear, accelerates smoothly, is performing the maneuver, you are braking gently as he approaches the car behind, stops, insert the forward, accelerates smoothly, rectifying the position, you are braking gently as he approaches the car in front , and can even repeat it to go to synchronize and leaving focused and well placed the car in the hollow.

This is all very well, but that very well, and also serves for dropping friends when you a demonstration. (I will only say that you leaving the car closer to the curb that I would leave it.)

Traffic congestion, pedestrian detection Wizard…

Also optional is the Assistant to traffic congestion, an unusual equipment by now, but that begins to look on some new models. With the system on, and up to a speed of 40 km/h (should be a little higher) car slows by itself only when the car in front braking, can even stop, returns to speed up trying to regain the programmed speed and turns the steering wheel to stay within the lane.

This system is associated to the Adaptive cruise control, a system that is still available in more and more models. This system is responsible for maintain the speed programmed by us, and accelerates or brakes as necessary. He also maintains the safe distance with the vehicle which precedes us.

During the test could not get to try the wizard for traffic jams, but the adaptive cruise control, and as in other cars, is very comfortable for Highway.

This BMW i3 was also equipped with the system of recognition of traffic signs, which displayed on the instrument panel, which also is a color display, but more small, the speed limit that corresponds. Finally also includes a automatic braking system in town, with detection of vehicles and pedestrians. I.e., that if the driver has distracted and not stop in time, the car slows by itself.

Unlike other systems that use a radar, all these systems of BMW i3 used a video camera being placed in the upper part of the windshield behind the rear view mirror.

This small video up on the Center camera depend on driving attendees

Multimedia system requires a little time

We leave to the end the complete multimedia connectivity of the BMW System i3, which in this case is the advanced, with larger screen, GPS navigation and internet connection. The truth is that the widescreen It looks great, has a high resolution, is very clear and also has a very good level of brightness and viewing angle that allows you to be able to read it without any problems even with enough sunshine. The glass is treated against reflexes.

The screen is not touch and everything is handled or with the iDrive control, a sort of wheel-joystick two-in-one which also has touchpad for scribbling lyrics, and several direct-access buttons around, or with voice control system. The command is very comfortable and practical, and is handled without the view. The voice control also goes wrong, just press the button on the steering wheel and say the menu which we want to go.

First it is a little complex because there are many submenus, so should dedicate a time, with the stopped car, to explore menu and submenus, to go catching you trick and know where you are every thing. It is ordered sequentially always choices in a vertical list. In a week I finished not understand it completely (especially in relation to the options of the GPS navigation systems).

There is also a smartphone application to connect with the car and from your phone and access certain functions, for example how the battery charge.

Except for the air conditioner that has physical buttons, through that screen can be entered to handle any function: radio sources axiliares and sound, the agenda and hands-free phone, computer, board settings, browser, messaging, GPS navigation with traffic information, the image of the Chamber reverse gears and connected services BMW ConnectedDrive (are extra).

Special mention deserves the high-fidelity sound equipment Harman Kardon, also opcinal garage, which has much power (not you hold inside the car with the volume to the maximum) and does not sound too bad.

The BMW i3 is an electric car, which means for now be starting something more expensive than a conventional car, but is also a BMW, in other words, a premium car, and if in addition it is equipped with the most as the unit we tested, then we have a fairly exclusive and luxurious car for those who have a good account in the Bank and can afford it.

Although a BMW i3 most basic part of the 35,500 euros, and with the help of the State for the purchase of electric vehicles of 6500 would be theoretically in a few euro 29000, one so complete and exclusive as that of this test comes to cost, without deduction, more than 50,000 euros. Who can afford it that will enjoy it much, insurance.