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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've just sold our Model 3 because second hand prices are frankly ridiculous and somebody was prepared to pay just 7% less than I paid for it new 2 years ago!

Anyway, now I'm looking for an older (and cheaper) BEV that will tide me over and hopefully not depreciate too much between now and the Model Y arriving in the UK.

I've read a few horror stories about out warranty repairs but most of these seem to relate to the rex. How reliable is the i3 bev and are there any potential big bills that might crop up?

Thanks in advance
 

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Most of us will have a sample of one or two which is going to take some time to form a picture, but FWIW our Aug 18 94ah BEV has been faultless for the last nearly three years albeit that that is only 12k miles.
 

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I bought a high mileage i3 REX last summer (think it was 83k, from memory) - ex lease, bought from the auctions - sold after I'd used it for 2 months, for a small profit. No issues while in my hands
 

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For peace of mind - buy an Approved used BMW. You can buy a 2 year old car with remainder of the warranty or a 3-4 year 94Ah old car with a year's warranty. If you're selling-on, no point buying a REx. BMW are pretty good on warranty side. Yes, even BEV models can suffer from niggles, charge point locking solenoid, top suspension mounts, suspension gaiters.

I've heard 20" wheels make for a uncomfortable ride. Also - if you're shopping around, then don't go for poverty specification, so professional navigation screen, Harmon Kardon sound, rear reversing camera, LED headlights and leather interior.
 

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The basic model is well equipped. Not sure why you would need all those unnecessary extras.
 

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The basic model is well equipped. Not sure why you would need all those unnecessary extras.
The OP is buying an i3 as a stop-gap before they sink their hard-earned cash into a Tesla Model Y. That's another owner added to the vehicle history and the car could be back up for sale again in 2022. I'm just thinking about it's resale value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm going to take the fact that nobody has turned up to this thread saying 'X failed and it cost me £4000' as a good sign.

Still not 100% decided what car I might go for yet or if we will just try and manage with one car for a while (our Ioniq) but I'll keep the i3 on my shortlist.

Thanks for your replies.
 

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I think i read every post in every relevant forum before I bought the I3S in March. My opinion based on this was that the I3 is generally very reliable and the REX seems to be source of about half of all I3 issues. As with any car you might be unlucky and BMW service is expensive but the lemon rate seems to be very low. Batteries do wear out but it is rare and generally only in very hot countries with the older smaller capacity cars.

On the options front I think that the AEB function that you get with driver asist is absolutely essential. Apart from the general increase in safety of AEB there is a particular issue with EVs that the slightest brush of the accelerator will cause the car to set off rolling without any cues or warning. Its very easy in traffic to accidentally touch the accelerator and the car starts to roll into the car in front, you want a system to stop this which the driver assistan will do. At least the I3 isn't as bad as the Zoe which because it has standard creep mode will actually accelerate up to 9mph as soon as the accelerator is touched and up to last year they didn even have an option for AEB.
 

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I think i read every post in every relevant forum before I bought the I3S in March. My opinion based on this was that the I3 is generally very reliable and the REX seems to be source of about half of all I3 issues. As with any car you might be unlucky and BMW service is expensive but the lemon rate seems to be very low. Batteries do wear out but it is rare and generally only in very hot countries with the older smaller capacity cars.

On the options front I think that the AEB function that you get with driver asist is absolutely essential. Apart from the general increase in safety of AEB there is a particular issue with EVs that the slightest brush of the accelerator will cause the car to set off rolling without any cues or warning. Its very easy in traffic to accidentally touch the accelerator and the car starts to roll into the car in front, you want a system to stop this which the driver assistan will do. At least the I3 isn't as bad as the Zoe which because it has standard creep mode will actually accelerate up to 9mph as soon as the accelerator is touched and up to last year they didn even have an option for AEB.
It‘s amazing how over time things change. When I bought my first i3 in early 2015 the biggest risk to one’s safety and the well being of the car was rear-gating the car behind when ACC tripped out in low sun or foggy conditions. The regenerative retardation was very abrupt. This was toned down a year later. I cannot say that I have found AEB to be that effective.
 

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I cannot say that I have found AEB to be that effective.
So how many rear end collisions have you had? Its an automatic emergency brake not park distance control. I am aware that it is not 100% reliable and occaisionally picks up shadows but even if it works only once to prevent a collision it has paid for itself.
 

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AEB is, like all so-called smart systems, not as smart as it should be and therefore mostly just an annoyance.
 

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How reliable is the i3 bev and are there any potential big bills that might crop up?
The early i3 is unreliable and very expensive to repair.


Cars made after 2017 have been very reliable. If something goes wrong out of warranty it can be very expensive to repair. Some of the modules are not easy to take out - they need to drop the e-machine to change them which adds to the expense.

The car needs working aircon to rapid charge. I've seen a few reports of older i3s with stone chips in the condenser. This is another expensive repair.

Replacing the 12V auxiliary battery is more or less a dealer item. You might be able to change it yourself but the car needs to be coded to the new battery.


The rear hatch is all glass. It can shatter if you reverse into a portaloo or look at it funny. Expensive to replace.

My 2018 has been trouble free until this week. I just noticed it is only charging at 3.6kW on AC. I have not done any troubleshooting yet. It may be the lead or there could be a fault with the car.


The rear tyres on an i3s are expensive. They use a size unique to the i3s. I got about 14,000 miles before replacing mine, but I have a REx which is bit heaver in the back.
 

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Life is all about the extra bells and whistles . Who wants basic bitch .

Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk
I did and I am very happy with it. Less to go wrong. Basic ReX model secondhand yields the best value for money and lowest depreciation. The screen in the middle is only looked at when the car is stationary. I can recall cars when the heater was extra. :)
 

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2019 i3S, BEV 20K miles.
From my experience I would say totally reliable. Tyres are obviously consumables and my first rears lasted 13k Miles. Although I got them replaced FoC as compensation when the
BMW Dealer managed to break my car competing a safety recall....buts that a different story.
 

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We bought our 17 rex in feb it has been a great car, fun to drive doing 5.2 miles per Kwh and apart from the 12 volt battery failing the other day without issues. The battery was £74 and I fitted it myself I coded it in as part of its service, would I buy another? yes I would as we really like the car and how it drives
 

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2019 i3s 16K miles, only issue I had was a spider getting into the little dome with flashing LED under the rear view mirror and rear light cluster had a fly in it. Dealer said they had never seen this :D Anyway all changed FOC under warranty. I run the i3s on 20 inch in summer and 19 inch winters in the winter. 19inch ride is fine but not as engaging on corners on 20 inch - not much in it really but it does change the drive. But the 20 inch with the wider rears on the i3s do look much better. Also you will find i3 is much quieter to drive than Model 3 - my mate who has a model 3 was amazed. I do a daily 90 mile motorway commute in my i3s really good and refined.
 

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I'm looking to buy an 2019 i3s from BMW with an Approved Used Warranty. I wonder if you could help me compile a checklist of things I should ask pre-purchase and for them to do post-purchase, pre-collection?

I have to do this mostly remotely so hopefully this helps others too.

This is what I've got so far:

  • confirm spec (via BMW mainframe readout)
  • do full walkaround
  • get battery degradation info (Batt kapa max)
  • confirm what cables are supplied as standard
  • what warranty remains (if any)

Post purchase, pre-collection I've noted the following:

  • ask for the wheels to be aligned
  • the aircon to be re-pressurised
  • the strut rubbers to be checked for holes
  • any software updates performed

What else?
 

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I had one fault on a 2017 BEV at 30,000 miles. The transmission lock failed sporadically. It's a servo-controlled chunk of metal that engages a slot on a gear wheel to keep the car from rolling when parked.

It was repaired under warranty, but is an easily accessible module that is easy to get at, so shouldn't be too expensive if paying the bill.

The car had 47,000 miles with no other real faults.
 
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