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by Barry Green,reviewed June 2015

Meet Rex. The name says it all – this is the Range Extender version of BMW’s i3 electric vehicle that - thanks to an auxiliary petrol engine - goes much farther.
The aforesaid 650cc twin cylinder is used solely for recharging an eight-module, 360 volt, Lithium-ion battery pack that powers the car’s primary eDrive electric motor. Thus, the driving range nearly doubles from 160 up to 300km in everyday ‘Comfort’ driving mode. A full recharge, using a standard domestic 240-volt power outlet, takes about 11 hours but the trick is to switch to the petrol engine before running the electric motor completely down. But, what’s it like to drive? The eDrive’s 125kW/250Nm is more than adequate to haul the five-door, four-seater hatchback’s 1195kg kerb weight. 0-100km/h comes up in less than eight seconds and a tight turning circle (9.86m) enhances manoeuvrability and zip around town. A point of difference is the single-pedal control system that engages a speed-sensitive braking recuperation mode to regenerate energy and apply a controlled braking effect. This happens as soon as you lift off the accelerator. Overall, the i3 is a generation on from the EVs before it. (Just how thrifty the i3 is will be revealed in our upcoming annual New Vehicle Running Costs Survey).


Longer driving range, leading technology


A little pricey, ride can be firm

Car Details

Vehicle make BMW
Vehicle model i3
Year 2015
Current price range $69990 - $

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Engine 22kW electric, driving rear wheels through single speed auto transmission + 650cc 2-cyl petrol Range Extender
Emissions rating
5 out of 5 stars

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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.