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2014 BMW i3 KBB Expert Review

The Fair Market Range for this car in your area is $35,245 - $37,363.

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MSRP $42,300

Fair Purchase Price $35,768
Fair Market Range ($35,245 - $37,363)

Invoice $38,990

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Consumer Rating 7.0 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Matt Degen - Updated Date: 12/31/2013

The 2014 BMW i3 is a new breed of car for the German luxury automaker. In addition to being its first mass-produced electric vehicle, the i3 is the first product of BMW's new i sub-brand of eco-conscious cars. The i3 also carves its own path among the growing niche of electric vehicles. Its small and unusual body is made of lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, and for those concerned about running out of battery power, a tiny gasoline engine is available that acts as a generator to double the i3's 80- to 100-mile range. The i3's roughly $42,000 starting price is thousands more than a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, but that money buys sportier driving manners, premium interior amenities and BMW badge appeal.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want an electric car with premium features that is more fun to drive than a Nissan Leaf but you aren't ready to drop $70,000 on a Tesla Model S, the BMW i3 adeptly straddles the middle ground between the two. That it's fun to drive is icing on the eco cake.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The i3's design isn't for everyone, and neither is its small size. For those wishing to go farther between their respective recharges/fill-ups at the electrical outlet/gasoline pump, the larger Chevrolet Volt delivers up to 380 miles of total range while costing over $7,000 less.

What's Significant About This Car?

The 2014 BMW i3 is an all-new car. As the first of BMW's i sub-brand, it also paves the way for other vehicles from the luxury German automaker that emphasize efficiency.

Driving It Driving Impressions

The i3 is built for efficiency, but remains a BMW. Thus it's endowed with the performance DNA for which this brand is known. Like other EVs, initial acceleration is strong thanks to the bountiful torque that's characteristic of electric motors. The i3 packs 184 lb-ft of it that easily propels the car's sub-3,000-pound body up to speed on freeway on-ramps. It's not BMW M quick, but 0-60 mph arrives in just over 7 seconds. Moreover, the i3 stands out from other electric vehicles in cornering. The car's rear-wheel-drive setup and sporty suspension enable it to actually be fun on twisty roads. But this BMW's biggest difference is in the way it stops. The 2014 i3 has an aggressive regenerative-braking system that captures kinetic energy and refunds it to the battery. With practice you can cut down how often you use the brake pedal or even forgo it entirely. This "single-pedal driving concept" seems foreign at first, but we caught on quickly.

Favorite Features

Even when off, the BMW i3's wide-screen displays are a sight to behold. One sits directly behind the steering wheel to relay speed and other information. But the real jewel is the other that floats over the center dash. It boasts one of the best navigation and rearview camera displays we've seen.

If you're even remotely concerned about the electric-only range of the i3, the $3,850 extra for the range-extending gasoline engine will be worth it. This 2-cylinder engine roughly doubles the i3's 80-100-mile electric-only range and automatically enters duty when needed to generate electricity to charge the battery.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More

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