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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. Having had a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for 3 years, we are considering buying an i3. The car looks well ‘specd’ but I am interested in which options you have found useful / essential.

E.g. Is the auxiliary heat pump necessary to keep range in UK winters or is it designed for Norway winters?

My wife has a slight concern about the ‘hassle’ of opening the rear doors. Do people find this an ongoing issue or after a few weeks does it become a non-problem?

Thanks in advance.
 

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We recently switched from two years in a fully specced 2017, pre-facelift i3 (leather, Harman Kardon etc) to a 2019 model year i3S with the "basic" standard specification, no options.

We felt the more sporting exterior of the S suited the grey cloth/blue stripe better than the dark brown leather. Much to our surprise we don't miss it at all. I've Scotchguarded the seats (and carpets) to provide water etc protection - Wife has a horse and rides daily so the interior can get mucky.

I swore I'd never pay money again for the Harman Kardon speakers in an i3. Unlike any other BMW/HK setup, the i3 has no space for their subwoofer, so the sound lacks low range and some midrange punch compared to the HK in say, a 3 series.

There's definitely more depth in the standard radio. I'm planning on upgrading the speakers and adding a small flat-form subwoofer. Easy job and costs about £250/£300 in total.

Rather than pay for factory fitted Sun Protection Glass in the rear windows, I had a specialist tint the rear and side windows for £150. Provides the same level of UV protection and keeps the sun out, so reduces the need for aircon. Looks no different to the factory fitted tints we had in the first car.

With LED lamps, heated seats and rear parking sensors all standard since the facelift, the only other thing I was tempted by was Active Cruise Control - But anyone who's got it on their i3 will tell you it's useless, choosing only to work on clear, warm, sunny days....and even then, not without issue.

The sunroof will add weight and when open, drag. Not good for range or economy.

In short, the car without any options is actually pretty well specced.

As for the rear doors - I went through the same thing with my wife before we got her her first i3. They've never, ever caused any issue. I guess in some supermarket carparks where spaces are tight there might be a bit of juggling between the front and rear doors if one wanted to get items or people into the back. But we tend to put our shopping in the boot or the passenger footwell anyway.

If you haven't already, try and get an extended test drive. Our local BMW dealer let us borrow an i3 for 4 days to see how it would fit into our lives.

With regards the heat pump, we didn't have one in the first and it didn't even cross our minds when buying the S recently. One can precondition the heating/cooling of the interior via the smartphone App or program one of the remote control buttons. With the car plugged into a charger, preconditioning will also heat the batteries helping to optimise range.
 

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Hi
Having run first a 2015 60ah i3 and then change at the end of last year for a 94ah i3s there is very little I can add to SJF73’s very fair review.

Both my cars have been REx’s which cannot accommodate the heat pump because it is located where the fuel tank is. I therefore have no experience of the added range it will give you but I might be tempted to specify it if you cannot garage your car and will be driving to the extent of the car’s range on the coldest winter day or if you do a lot of fast motorway driving. The i3 is not very aerodynamic so driving over about 60mph will reduce range.

The rear doors can be a bit of a pain if you frequently carry rear seat passengers. They are not great if you are dropping kids off at different schools as those in the front have to unbuckle and open their doors before those in the rear can get out or get in. As SJF73 has pointed out they pose a problem if you are parked close to another car or a wall. The trade off is that the front doors are long and give easy access.

I do have ACC but it is not that reliable and TBH you will not miss if you have not had it in the past. One function that comes with it which I like is that the current speed limit is displayed in the instrument binnacle. Driving a very quite car with no gears it can be very difficult to judge your speed so I like to be reminded of the speed limit you need to adhere to. I also have a sunroof but that is because I am addicted to them having had them on all my cars since before air conditioning became widely standard. The glass does make the terrific interior lighter but the actual twin apertures are quite small and the glass does not slide back very far. The standard interior is ok but one nice option with it is the blue seat belts. The i3 is now really well equipped as standard (before LED became standard the normal headlights were very poor - one of the reasons why I changed my first i3 earlier than I intended). Park Assist is a bit of a gimmick but does come with the addition of front sensors and a rear view camera - the latter is quite a nice feature but I don’t miss the front sensors on my current car although both those and the rear camera can be spec’d as options.

What you haven’t asked is whether to go for the i3s. The roadholding is a very definite improvement on the standard car as both he track and wheels are wider plus the suspension has been lowered. My first i3 understeered a bit too much for my liking because the car is quite tall and the performance perhaps makes you drive it is a bit more sporty way than you would normally do. That said I came f on having had two MINI Cooper S’s which went around corners on rails. The trade off for the tighter handling is a firmer ride. In my opinion it is worth it but I would recommend that you try both. The i3s has a more powerful motor but I haven’t really noticed the difference other than it gives you a bit more acceleration to pass HGVs trundling along at 56mph. If you go for the s you need to be aware that you can get caught with the £320 pa (for 5 years from year 2) if the otr list price of the car (before £3500 grant) is above £40,000. You should though be safe if you do not go made with the options and stick to the standard interior. The standard white paint is actually quite nice but colour of course is a personal preference.

All I can say is you will love the i3 but do take it for a 2+ day test drive that will give you a chance to check it out throughly and test some fast chargers.

Good luck
 

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PS I forgot to suggest you sign up to the BMW I3 UK Facebook group. There is a lot of information that you can download from a site linked to the Facebook page. Amongst the 3500 + members you will get plenty of friendly and helpful advice. Do not be afraid to ask even the dumbest questions - we have all been there although as a Outlander owner I guess you know most of the issues you need to consider.
 

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I had a good specification X5 and downsized to the i3. The two things I miss are the tinted glass (the i3 interior seems to get very hot) and memory seats (for when my wife changes the seat position).
 

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Had the i3 for almost three years now. Rear doors are only a problem if you have to use them regularly or if stuck in tight spaces.

As said, the pain is having to load passengers in order of disembarkation to avoid hassle and delay. Even then, it’s not possible to get out of rear seat if the front passenger is the first out. That’s no different to any other two door car though.

Wouldn’t want to get an old relative in the back.
 

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I don't find the rear doors that much of a problem really, the only comments that I have received from rear seat passengers is that they are unable to wind down the rear windows. I also agree with the comment regarding the HK sound system it is lacking in punch. I would also recommend scotch guarding the seats, I spilt a small amount of McDonalds coffee on the seat and it took ages to remove the small stain, succeeded only after trying numerous stain removal products.
 

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Rear doors are a pain in most real world situations as space is always cramped in car parks and the same with supermarkets. Boot is not that big, so with a large amount of shopping you will either need to load in the rear seating area or drop the rear seats. Shuffling shopping in and out from a trolley is not easy no matter which way round you park.

Rear seat passengers have no opening windows and no air vents, so can be claustrophobic for some people.

As others have said, get an extended test drive or sign up to Evezy and test one for a month before you make your final decision. It’ll only cost £9.99 to register and £399 for the month subscription.
 

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Having owned two i3s from new, I do not agree with some of the above comments. Yes, the gull doors can be a pain in tight situations - the problem being that the front door has to be opened before the rear door and vice versa. ACC is not perfect but it works 99% of the time. In low sun, shadow or mist it can trip out so the power pedal needs to be guarded - particularly, in high speed tail gaiting situations. Over the years, the rate of regenerative braking has been reduced which makes front gaiting the guy behind less likely than was the case 4 years ago.

If you are going for a BEV then I would recommend the heat pump. It works very well on the 120Ah model and I have seen little effect on range. Professional Nav on an i3 takes a bit of getting used to: for example, select Fast Routes and you may well find yourself on lanes that you didn't know existed.

The options that I currently have are:

Park Assist Package/Traffic Jam Assist/Driving Assistant Plus.

Finally, if you are buying the car it is worth checking with BMW i to see if they are still offering a free public charging cable, My dealer wasn't aware of this offer. I was able to negotiate a pubic charging cable upgrade by paying the difference. The 3-phase cable will give you 3.6/7.2/11kW public charging depending on the post.

PS: I do not miss the REx.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We recently switched from two years in a fully specced 2017, pre-facelift i3 (leather, Harman Kardon etc) to a 2019 model year i3S with the "basic" standard specification, no options.

We felt the more sporting exterior of the S suited the grey cloth/blue stripe better than the dark brown leather. Much to our surprise we don't miss it at all. I've Scotchguarded the seats (and carpets) to provide water etc protection - Wife has a horse and rides daily so the interior can get mucky.

I swore I'd never pay money again for the Harman Kardon speakers in an i3. Unlike any other BMW/HK setup, the i3 has no space for their subwoofer, so the sound lacks low range and some midrange punch compared to the HK in say, a 3 series.

There's definitely more depth in the standard radio. I'm planning on upgrading the speakers and adding a small flat-form subwoofer. Easy job and costs about £250/£300 in total.

Rather than pay for factory fitted Sun Protection Glass in the rear windows, I had a specialist tint the rear and side windows for £150. Provides the same level of UV protection and keeps the sun out, so reduces the need for aircon. Looks no different to the factory fitted tints we had in the first car.

With LED lamps, heated seats and rear parking sensors all standard since the facelift, the only other thing I was tempted by was Active Cruise Control - But anyone who's got it on their i3 will tell you it's useless, choosing only to work on clear, warm, sunny days....and even then, not without issue.

The sunroof will add weight and when open, drag. Not good for range or economy.

In short, the car without any options is actually pretty well specced.

As for the rear doors - I went through the same thing with my wife before we got her her first i3. They've never, ever caused any issue. I guess in some supermarket carparks where spaces are tight there might be a bit of juggling between the front and rear doors if one wanted to get items or people into the back. But we tend to put our shopping in the boot or the passenger footwell anyway.

If you haven't already, try and get an extended test drive. Our local BMW dealer let us borrow an i3 for 4 days to see how it would fit into our lives.

With regards the heat pump, we didn't have one in the first and it didn't even cross our minds when buying the S recently. One can precondition the heating/cooling of the interior via the smartphone App or program one of the remote control buttons. With the car plugged into a charger, preconditioning will also heat the batteries helping to optimise range.
Thank you for your very detailed response and advice. Very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi
Having run first a 2015 60ah i3 and then change at the end of last year for a 94ah i3s there is very little I can add to SJF73’s very fair review.

Both my cars have been REx’s which cannot accommodate the heat pump because it is located where the fuel tank is. I therefore have no experience of the added range it will give you but I might be tempted to specify it if you cannot garage your car and will be driving to the extent of the car’s range on the coldest winter day or if you do a lot of fast motorway driving. The i3 is not very aerodynamic so driving over about 60mph will reduce range.

The rear doors can be a bit of a pain if you frequently carry rear seat passengers. They are not great if you are dropping kids off at different schools as those in the front have to unbuckle and open their doors before those in the rear can get out or get in. As SJF73 has pointed out they pose a problem if you are parked close to another car or a wall. The trade off is that the front doors are long and give easy access.

I do have ACC but it is not that reliable and TBH you will not miss if you have not had it in the past. One function that comes with it which I like is that the current speed limit is displayed in the instrument binnacle. Driving a very quite car with no gears it can be very difficult to judge your speed so I like to be reminded of the speed limit you need to adhere to. I also have a sunroof but that is because I am addicted to them having had them on all my cars since before air conditioning became widely standard. The glass does make the terrific interior lighter but the actual twin apertures are quite small and the glass does not slide back very far. The standard interior is ok but one nice option with it is the blue seat belts. The i3 is now really well equipped as standard (before LED became standard the normal headlights were very poor - one of the reasons why I changed my first i3 earlier than I intended). Park Assist is a bit of a gimmick but does come with the addition of front sensors and a rear view camera - the latter is quite a nice feature but I don’t miss the front sensors on my current car although both those and the rear camera can be spec’d as options.

What you haven’t asked is whether to go for the i3s. The roadholding is a very definite improvement on the standard car as both he track and wheels are wider plus the suspension has been lowered. My first i3 understeered a bit too much for my liking because the car is quite tall and the performance perhaps makes you drive it is a bit more sporty way than you would normally do. That said I came f on having had two MINI Cooper S’s which went around corners on rails. The trade off for the tighter handling is a firmer ride. In my opinion it is worth it but I would recommend that you try both. The i3s has a more powerful motor but I haven’t really noticed the difference other than it gives you a bit more acceleration to pass HGVs trundling along at 56mph. If you go for the s you need to be aware that you can get caught with the £320 pa (for 5 years from year 2) if the otr list price of the car (before £3500 grant) is above £40,000. You should though be safe if you do not go made with the options and stick to the standard interior. The standard white paint is actually quite nice but colour of course is a personal preference.

All I can say is you will love the i3 but do take it for a 2+ day test drive that will give you a chance to check it out throughly and test some fast chargers.

Good luck
Thank you for your detailed and helpful reply.

I have tested the i3 for a day (but not the i3S) and thought it was a great drive but I am comparing it to the Outlander rather than a 3 series or a Mini Cooper JCW.

I tend to drive 'sedately' to maximise range (can I get 28 or 29 or 30 miles in the Outlander PHEV LOL). My wife has an even lighter right foot. Over a 150 mile test including motorways, dual carriageways, rural and city driving, at the legal speed limit whenever possible we managed 4.9 miles/kwh (a warm day) which I believe is equivalent to a range of 186 miles based on 38kwh usable battery capacity, which is closer to the WLTP range of 193 than we expected. The dealer said a range of 160 miles is a more realistic 'real world' target.

I always use cruise control to avoid speeding and liked the way you could easily change from 30 mph to 40 mph with 2 flicks of the button. I liked the clear digital speedo and the view where it showed range next to distance to destination to show how many miles in 'reserve' you had.

We did a test charge on a rapid and added 28kwh in 38 mins which was just enough time to find a cafe, order a coffee, drink it and return!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We recently switched from two years in a fully specced 2017, pre-facelift i3 (leather, Harman Kardon etc) to a 2019 model year i3S with the "basic" standard specification, no options.

We felt the more sporting exterior of the S suited the grey cloth/blue stripe better than the dark brown leather. Much to our surprise we don't miss it at all. I've Scotchguarded the seats (and carpets) to provide water etc protection - Wife has a horse and rides daily so the interior can get mucky.

I swore I'd never pay money again for the Harman Kardon speakers in an i3. Unlike any other BMW/HK setup, the i3 has no space for their subwoofer, so the sound lacks low range and some midrange punch compared to the HK in say, a 3 series.

There's definitely more depth in the standard radio. I'm planning on upgrading the speakers and adding a small flat-form subwoofer. Easy job and costs about £250/£300 in total.

Rather than pay for factory fitted Sun Protection Glass in the rear windows, I had a specialist tint the rear and side windows for £150. Provides the same level of UV protection and keeps the sun out, so reduces the need for aircon. Looks no different to the factory fitted tints we had in the first car.

With LED lamps, heated seats and rear parking sensors all standard since the facelift, the only other thing I was tempted by was Active Cruise Control - But anyone who's got it on their i3 will tell you it's useless, choosing only to work on clear, warm, sunny days....and even then, not without issue.

The sunroof will add weight and when open, drag. Not good for range or economy.

In short, the car without any options is actually pretty well specced.

As for the rear doors - I went through the same thing with my wife before we got her her first i3. They've never, ever caused any issue. I guess in some supermarket carparks where spaces are tight there might be a bit of juggling between the front and rear doors if one wanted to get items or people into the back. But we tend to put our shopping in the boot or the passenger footwell anyway.

If you haven't already, try and get an extended test drive. Our local BMW dealer let us borrow an i3 for 4 days to see how it would fit into our lives.

With regards the heat pump, we didn't have one in the first and it didn't even cross our minds when buying the S recently. One can precondition the heating/cooling of the interior via the smartphone App or program one of the remote control buttons. With the car plugged into a charger, preconditioning will also heat the batteries helping to optimise range.
I forgot to say I used to have a Audi Q5 with active cruise control. It was great crawling out of London on the A4/M4 for 90 minutes but at higher speeds I thought it was very poor. Doing 70 mph it would get much closer too a vehicle in front (doing say 40 mph) than I would and then apply aggressive braking at the last moment that would nearly send me through the windscreen. I expect most drivers would have lifted their foot off the throttle earlier and coasted down to 40 mph without applying the brake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Than
I had a good specification X5 and downsized to the i3. The two things I miss are the tinted glass (the i3 interior seems to get very hot) and memory seats (for when my wife changes the seat position).
Thank you. Tinted glass has been mentioned a few times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Had the i3 for almost three years now. Rear doors are only a problem if you have to use them regularly or if stuck in tight spaces.

As said, the pain is having to load passengers in order of disembarkation to avoid hassle and delay. Even then, it’s not possible to get out of rear seat if the front passenger is the first out. That’s no different to any other two door car though.

Wouldn’t want to get an old relative in the back.
Thanks for your reply.

Sadly, we only have 1 elderly relative now, an ex chauffeur who will always sit in the front. He joined us for our test drive and liked it. I suspect we will only have rear passengers in <5% of journeys, so I suspect it will not be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Having owned two i3s from new, I do not agree with some of the above comments. Yes, the gull doors can be a pain in tight situations - the problem being that the front door has to be opened before the rear door and vice versa. ACC is not perfect but it works 99% of the time. In low sun, shadow or mist it can trip out so the power pedal needs to be guarded - particularly, in high speed tail gaiting situations. Over the years, the rate of regenerative braking has been reduced which makes front gaiting the guy behind less likely than was the case 4 years ago.

If you are going for a BEV then I would recommend the heat pump. It works very well on the 120Ah model and I have seen little effect on range. Professional Nav on an i3 takes a bit of getting used to: for example, select Fast Routes and you may well find yourself on lanes that you didn't know existed.

The options that I currently have are:

Park Assist Package/Traffic Jam Assist/Driving Assistant Plus.

Finally, if you are buying the car it is worth checking with BMW i to see if they are still offering a free public charging cable, My dealer wasn't aware of this offer. I was able to negotiate a pubic charging cable upgrade by paying the difference. The 3-phase cable will give you 3.6/7.2/11kW public charging depending on the post.

PS: I do not miss the REx.
Thank you for your helpful reply and the tip about the free public charging cable offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PS I forgot to suggest you sign up to the BMW I3 UK Facebook group. There is a lot of information that you can download from a site linked to the Facebook page. Amongst the 3500 + members you will get plenty of friendly and helpful advice. Do not be afraid to ask even the dumbest questions - we have all been there although as a Outlander owner I guess you know most of the issues you need to consider.
Thanks. I have just applied to join the FB group.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Had the i3 for almost three years now. Rear doors are only a problem if you have to use them regularly or if stuck in tight spaces.

As said, the pain is having to load passengers in order of disembarkation to avoid hassle and delay. Even then, it’s not possible to get out of rear seat if the front passenger is the first out. That’s no different to any other two door car though.

Wouldn’t want to get an old relative in the back.
Gosh, I hadn't thought about loading passengers in order of disembarkation. Sounds like I need a spreadsheet for long journey planning re charge points and another spreadsheet for optimal passenger loading! Our kids are late teens and rarely accompany us now but it may have been more of an issue when they were much younger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't find the rear doors that much of a problem really, the only comments that I have received from rear seat passengers is that they are unable to wind down the rear windows. I also agree with the comment regarding the HK sound system it is lacking in punch. I would also recommend scotch guarding the seats, I spilt a small amount of McDonalds coffee on the seat and it took ages to remove the small stain, succeeded only after trying numerous stain removal products.
I did sit in the back for an hour during our test drive e and didn't find it a problem. Thanks for the tip re Scotch guarding the seats. Given how clumsy I am it's probably a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi. Having had a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for 3 years, we are considering buying an i3. The car looks well ‘specd’ but I am interested in which options you have found useful / essential.

E.g. Is the auxiliary heat pump necessary to keep range in UK winters or is it designed for Norway winters?

My wife has a slight concern about the ‘hassle’ of opening the rear doors. Do people find this an ongoing issue or after a few weeks does it become a non-problem?

Thanks in advance.
No one has mentioned the external e sound option. Our Outlander PHEV emits a weird electronic noise at low speeds. We live in a rural area and virtually in every journey we come up behind horseriders or multiple cyclists in a narrow lane. Often, I follow them for 30 seconds or so at slow pace until it is safe to overtake and usually they do not know we are behind because they are on their mobile or listening to music or chatting etc. I don't want to sound my horn to scare the horses or appear aggressive. What sound does the i3 make?

My vote is for a cyclists bell sound!
 

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Gosh, I hadn't thought about loading passengers in order of disembarkation. Sounds like I need a spreadsheet for long journey planning re charge points and another spreadsheet for optimal passenger loading! Our kids are late teens and rarely accompany us now but it may have been more of an issue when they were much younger.
Ultimately it's no different to a 2 door ICE in respect of passengers. The difference is the juggling around to get out of a tight space in the right order.
 
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