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BMW i3 / i8 / ActiveE
Are you excited about the upcoming BMW i3 or i8? Interested in learning more about the BMW ActiveE? This is the place for you!

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  #1  
Old 04-09-2014, 04:00 PM
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brkf brkf is offline
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Drove the i3 on Monday

Summary: Sign me up when they make an e46 sized electric car.

Pros:
Quiet
Quick
RWD
Instant torque

Cons:
Cramped back seat
Small range vis-a-vis Tesla
Tall design
Interior materials

Like most BMWs today it's got the body of 1980s defensive tackle - pudgy, soft and lacking any real shape. The look upon approaching it, reminds me of someone grafting a BMW grille onto a Tata. Regardless, this is a form follows function approach, right?

Kinda. The lack of B pillar is cool. But you quickly see it's necessary as the backseat offers all the space a Lannister could want. If his name is Tyrion. The legless could get in if the car had a B pillar. A baby seat would be a tight squeeze for sure. Frameless door glass. Seemed like a bad idea on my Mini Cooper S and never really made me excited on any BMW coupe. So I would prefer a frame on my windows, thanks. Considering the build quality of my last 4 BMWs and Cooper, I just can't trust those windows.

The front seats hold you in place as expected but the base package mixing fabric and ette feels like something poorly thought out. Ette's durable as hell. Fabric is not. Fabric pretty much absorbs anything and everything so cloth mixed into ette results in zero net gain on the ette's ability to remain functional and decent looking forever. Actual seat comfort was not noticeable. I didn't check the leather seats on some other cars - hey free cookies. The seats struck me as a shade less comfortable than the poorly padded seats in my 2013 Sportline 3 series. Add to that the super-high VW Van-like seating position and you're riding on the i3.

The guy made a point of showing off the doors and how there is a portion that's recycled material. Ya mean this cheap, strange feeling grey-like unearthly substance? Hmm. Okay, not a selling point. Wouldn't make me say no but certainly would never bring it up. He also kept talking about the eucalyptus on the dash. Maybe where he comes from this is a strange wood but in San Diego it's as common as a 40 year old in PB. That stuff burns nicely... ask the folks in Scripps Ranch.

Anyway, on the go is where the car makes you smile. Forget about the seats and the weird materials. Hit the gas and the little bugger launches. Almost silently. It's like the coolest go cart ever. Just barely audible and swift. Zoom you're at fifty. Hell yeah that's fun.

Let off the gas and this thing decelerates like an unseen hand yanking you back to reality. No need to ever touch the brake. But that begs the question, do the brake lights shine when you let off the gas? In my ten minute drive I touched the brake pedal only after I'd come to a stop. Dunno but I wonder as that may freak out the folks behind you.

And because it's so quiet you can really hear the stereo. That's a weird sensation too. You're driving but it's super quiet and the loudest noise is easily the radio at low volume. Crystal clear.

Not all is perfect in the drive. You're running tall & narrow tires; plus this thing's tall. Then that weird seating position. Turn a corner and it doesn't lean but it's doesn't feel quite right either. Not sure-footed and planted like say an X5 diesel being toyed with. No this is more like a fast, silent skateboard that hops a bit on San Diego's notoriously awful asphalt. Reminds me of a less composed version of my old Cooper S. But the Cooper felt snug to the ground. This while never tippy, never conveys, "Oh I have gravity beat and in my basement."

Overall it was a gas to drive for the novelty. But it's not really a car that makes you want to attack corners. More a quick econobox feel to it.

Maybe the next gen will be a proper RWD sedan with a suspension and design that feels low and fun? Let's hope. If not one can always look forward to the next Tesla sedan.
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2014, 05:14 PM
ddk632 ddk632 is offline
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Great write up.
It is surely fun to drive.

As for sportiness, when I drove the i3, I wasn't much thinking about corners, but with the zippy nature and acceleration, it felt like a great "traffic attack" car. Getting in and out of traffic was fun as hell. I drove the car in Downtown LA during the LA Auto Show, so I think that was a good place where the car feels at home.

I'm not in the market for an i3 but wanted to drive one for the fun factor - never drove an electric car before or since - and also because it's the closest I can get to driving an i8 for the time being...

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  #3  
Old 04-09-2014, 11:42 PM
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MarcusSDCA MarcusSDCA is offline
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Very funny....are you a professional writer?

And I think the average age in PB is up like the home prices.

I'm doing the i3 test drive Saturday at BMW-Escondido
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2014, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusSDCA View Post
Very funny....are you a professional writer?

And I think the average age in PB is up like the home prices.

I'm doing the i3 test drive Saturday at BMW-Escondido
Oh, they may let you take the back road test drive! They have one test route where you get to barnstorm a bunch of two lane roads in the hills. Enjoy.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2014, 08:18 AM
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MarcusSDCA MarcusSDCA is offline
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Originally Posted by brkf View Post
Oh, they may let you take the back road test drive! They have one test route where you get to barnstorm a bunch of two lane roads in the hills. Enjoy.
I did go off into a quiet mixed residential area and a business park to the Southwest of the dealership. I loved the power and the intense acceleration/deceleration. They told me it was the fastest BMW available for 0-30 mph and it felt that way! I haven't read much on this model but I'm guessing the intense deceleration was somehow regenerating the batteries ala typical hybrid system but not sure on that. Was surprised at the intensity of deceleration. Interior was nice with great visibility but not quite as mind blowing as the fossil fuel line. Clearly they are going for Prius mindset with fatter checkbooks (recycled materials and more utilitarian non-glam look). Shifter and start-stop button need to be relocated....just awful non-ergonomic placement on the steering column and very awkward to operate. The start-stop button was especially bad as I couldn't decide if I wanted to reach around behind the wheel or poke my index finger through the inside of the steering wheel.

Did not prefer the handling vs my own m sport 328d. It seemed like there was an after-wobble when changing direction or turning a corner at high speed. The i3 felt top heavy. The i3 engine put into the 3 series platform would be a home run and I think BMW has created a little rocket ship here. I've never driven a Tesla but I am guessing this is what a premium electric engine is capable of and it's pun intended pretty shocking!
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Last edited by MarcusSDCA; 04-13-2014 at 09:43 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2014, 09:16 AM
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Pics of the i3 event at BMW Escondido 4-12-14 (last pic is stock photo from Google since I realized I did a lousy job on my first pic...you can't even see the whole front end)
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Last edited by MarcusSDCA; 04-13-2014 at 09:41 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2014, 12:10 PM
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You've got a 328d now? How are you liking it? If I drove my car more I'd be inclined to go that direction as the idea of 30s and 40s for MPGs is pretty darn sweet...
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  #8  
Old 04-13-2014, 01:18 PM
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Yes, got a new 328d a few weeks ago after 7 years of hybrids/VW TDIs.....for me it's all about handling & high MPGs and the 328d is just about the only no-compromise car out there right now (at about $40K that is!) I'm in heaven
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Last edited by MarcusSDCA; 04-13-2014 at 01:20 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2014, 07:37 PM
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mr_clueless mr_clueless is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusSDCA View Post
Yes, got a new 328d a few weeks ago after 7 years of hybrids/VW TDIs.....for me it's all about handling & high MPGs and the 328d is just about the only no-compromise car out there right now (at about $40K that is!) I'm in heaven
It really is a great car as I have experienced it for 3 days now as a loaner. The only problem is you have to be willing to give up MT.

I signed up to drive the i3 on May 23.
https://www.bmwusa.com/secured/content/forms/BMWi3.aspx
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2014, 04:48 PM
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MB330 MB330 is offline
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I attendant today test drive event at Bob Smith BMW in Calabasas, CA.
We only allow drive on local roads - no FWYs.
It was fun, but I will not run with my hard earned money to buy this thing.
Don't liked exterior look, and cheep feeling inside the econo box.














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Last edited by MB330; 04-18-2014 at 04:52 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2014, 05:12 PM
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Thanks for the pictures. Always good to get some non-professional shots of real cars.

I'll have to take a look at it but for me the showstopper is that I live in an apartment complex. This creates 2 problems. Owning a second car is a problem and as an only car I need something that can go 400+ miles so I don't have plan my whole life around the car. The second issue is charging -- I would have to basically spend 1/2 hr at a charging station for a "fill up." The latter would not be that big a deal if the range was in fact about 400 miles.

I think cost-wise it may be worth it depending on where one lives. This will give you HOV access and also comes with a massive tax credit.
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2014 328i / Liquid Blue / Beige Leatherette / 4 DR / 6 MT / Moonroof / Rear Camera + PDC / Xenons / DHP / 12K+ Miles / Bought 10-16-2013
2003 325i / Gray Green / Beige Leatherette / 4 DR / 5 MT / Moonroof / 219K+ Miles / Bought 12-21-2002 / Sold 10-21-2013
1998 Civic EX / Vogue Silver / Gray / 4 DR / 5 MT / 122K+ Miles / Bought 12-30-1997 / Totaled 08-2002
1988 Sentra / Gray / Gray / 2 DR / 4 MT / 190K+ Miles / Bought 06-1994 @ 120K+ Miles / Died 12-1997
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  #12  
Old 04-18-2014, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
Thanks for the pictures. Always good to get some non-professional shots of real cars.

I'll have to take a look at it but for me the showstopper is that I live in an apartment complex. This creates 2 problems. Owning a second car is a problem and as an only car I need something that can go 400+ miles so I don't have plan my whole life around the car. The second issue is charging -- I would have to basically spend 1/2 hr at a charging station for a "fill up." The latter would not be that big a deal if the range was in fact about 400 miles.

I think cost-wise it may be worth it depending on where one lives. This will give you HOV access and also comes with a massive tax credit.
According to sales guy - $7000 in tax creadit

But if you looking for gas saving and drive a nice car - get 320i with sport package and manual transmission.
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Last edited by MB330; 04-18-2014 at 06:59 PM.
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  #13  
Old 04-18-2014, 06:58 PM
HugH HugH is offline
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According to sales guy - $7000 in tax creadit
$7,500 is more like it. Obama is trying to increase it to $10,000. I hope he succeeds!
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:01 PM
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$7,500 is more like it. Obama is trying to increase it to $10,000. I hope he succeeds!
the car that I tested was > $40K - common!
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