i3 BMW Fail

I just read a first impression review on CNET (

Range of 80 to 100 miles, ugly, optional engine? What is good about this thing.. better then a horse I guess.
This yet another example of a manufacture that cannot get the engineering right so they put the burden on marketing. Hey this is all that people need.. you don't need to go over 100 miles.. no..

Good job BMW, in one fell swoop you have given late night comedians and the oil industry something to talk about.

How can the i3 be a "fail" when it won't ship until next year? No EV is a fail if it can raise awareness to our need for sustainable transport and engages consumers in a conversation about the pros and cons of the technology. While the i3 does not target the same market as the Model S, it also costs half as much and carries the weight of the BMW brand.

I wish BMW, Ford, Mitsubishi and Nissan all the success in the world with their EVs.

Wow, that's ugly.

They could have made it a lot nicer by ditching the dark hood and side notch at the rear windows.

Nice fresh flourishes in the interior, but still stuck in iDrive instead of iPhone touch technology.

BMW will move some because of their heritage, but I don't see this as any runaway hit.

The coup de grace is the performance - as good as a Leaf ... 3 years later.

Model S looks even better after seeing this.

Yes, the more cars like i3 and Leaf and i-Miev and the better the Model S will sell! :)

I think right now the biggest mistake of them is the choice of color to highlight (cough) the shape and doors of the i3. If the car were any single color, it would look a bit better to me.

It may be ugly, but IMO it is way more appealing than the Nissan Leaf.

I actually like the internal styling on it a bit, but I would still much rather have the Model S.

Who would buy this?

@ThomasK "Who would buy this?"

Let's see. BMW must have targeted the market segment who can't make up their minds whether to get a Volt, Leaf or i-MiEV, so they mashed the designs together (this might explain the mismatched rear windows), and as an afterthought, slapped the BMW grille on the front.

Ugliest. BMW. Ever. Comparing this to a horse is to insult its behind.

It's a shame but hardly a surprise. This vehicle has had many leaks regarding the design and it hasn't grown on me at all. The powertrain could have been more like the Model S', too... all in all it may sell to folks who need the validation of a BMW badge, but it's nowhere near as good as a Tesla.

You could probably fit a lot of clowns in that thing....

One reason it's hard for established company that dominates the market to compete with disruptive company is they also don't want to help push the acceptance of the new product that will cannibalize their current product. BMW put a lot of effort in the i3 but in the end it's still a half arsed try with an ugly product.

@ carlk:
"One reason it's hard for established company that dominates the market to compete with disruptive company is they also don't want to help push the acceptance of the new product that will cannibalize their current product"

Agreed. It's as if BMW executives said, "Make it good, but not *that* good..."

Hey everyone go easy and look at what the i3 is trying to do.

First- it has a skateboard architecture like a Tesla (flat battery pack on bottom, motor in rear.

Second- it has an all composite body, lots of investment at BMW to figure out how to do that in automotive context at good cost. Note there is no B-pillar, that's why it has only one door- so easy to get in back seat. Pretty clever.

Appreciate what they have done well. They are trying to make a car that works well in European cities, so it has to be smaller... but still seats 4. Pretty cool in many ways.

According to public info they spent $2B to develop it... so clearly there is a suite of capabilities they intend to leverage forward.

The other thing it doesn't have is storage space. Doesn't look like any storage up front and the tiny back storage is directly over the electric and ICE motors. I'm sure it won't get hot back there :-)

I agree with @AmpedRealtor - we should be cheering for EV success in general. Philosophical reasons aside, the only way we are going to see a build-out of infrastructure and a shift in legislative bias is if EVs grow beyond their current niche.

Also, as a Tesla owner, the last thing I want to see is Tesla not have any legit competition to keep them on their toes.


First deliveries in Nov. Some interesting Bloomberg interviews etc. on this page:

Well, when a major car maker actually builds a nice EV car, I'll be the first to cheer them on. Until then though...

It is kind of wierd though. It's as if all the majors decided the sub-compact car segment is the ONLY car segment that would want a BEV. What about SUVs? What about trucks? What about sports cars? What about full size cars? Minivans? Don't tell be urban driving eco conscious soccer moms wouldn't line up to buy a totally green minivan.

I feel so pleasant to see the i3 came out today...because it looks so ugly and i am so sure i3 is simply not QUALIFY to compete with us!!!

TMS is still the best and Bimma no even close to! hehe :)

The Pontiac Aztec lives... maybe it will sell better as a bmw ev?

OMG it's ugly. Why such insistence in linking EV to ugliness? However, BMW is a good name that could possess the power to make ugly the new beautiful. I'm still trying to understand why people go so crazy over Loui Vuitton bags...

Had hoped that Tesla be mentioned on the video. Oh well, TM is a class of its own.

$2B, when will i3 platform turn profitable? I guess Gen III Tesla will be out before then.

Actually I think it's not that bad, it could be much better for sure, but I'd said it's Leaf-like appealing with the difference that BMW could have the strenght to make it new beautiful as Cindy123 said.

What appeals to me is that CFRP body. Its very light and can be also easily repaired after crash accident. Would be interesting to know what is the true cost of it. Is it more expensive than aluminum of Model S body?

However that 80-100 mile range sux really hard for BMW brand :-(

Well, it's good the Pontiac Aztec designers finally found work.

It also reminds me of that station wagon Chevy Chase drove in Family Vacation. "You think you hate it now. Wait till you drive it."

The BMW I DO like is the i8. That's a nice looking car, but it's a shame it's a hybrid. I assume it's going to have most of the constraints of the fisker. Too much stuff under the hood for a small car.

The problem that BMW has is what Tesla is working on for Gen III. The battery needs to have a range of 150 to 200 miles and a lower cost to keep the car in the $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 range. I'm pulling for the Tesla engineers to get that done but it's no easy task.
Personally I don't find the BMW ugly as some do. Neither do I particularly think it looks that great.
The MS is a think of beauty but it is more than twice as expensive depending on how you configure it, so a different category of car.
I can't wait for the Gen III just to know that the battery range cost has been resolved.

Face it. This car fell off the stainless steel ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down! I think they intentionally made it ugly so consumers would not want to buy it. I can't believe, knowing the BMW design team's history, that they would ever design a car that looked like that without being collectively insane or told to do so.

Chevy Volt ads are sparce, and only consist of mostly unattractive pictures of an anemic looking pale green car on a white background. There are never the typically successful mechanisms used in successful ad campaigns like "beauty shots", families having fun, sexy girls, etc.etc.that are seen normally in the auto I have a Volt (and my TMS) love it, but it is obvious people dont know much about the car based on GM pushing an agressive, well designed ads campaign to sell GM's new invention and advancement in technology.

Also, Face it, the Leaf and Volt are pretty ugly cars (though the Volt is not as bad) and intentionally designed so. They have a limited color pallet as well. Do we really need those ugly nodules on the headlights to "diminish wind and air resistance? Obviously you can do it with a cooler light design, as demonstrated by Tesla.

I think it's all pretty selfish and disgusting for those running the big 3 to not offer what's best for the consumers and the environment! Everyone I know who has them would never go back. I hate that corporations can manipulate people that way!

In my view the Chevy volt already has this beaten. Looks better and has 300 mile range (news agencies keep putting volt incorrectly in same category at leaf which it is not). Next gen Volt will blow i3 out of the water even more.

I agree with OP this is a massive fail. Reminds me of 2007 when new blackberry with physical keyboard was coming out at same time as iPhone.

I don't know why we should cheer every single EV that comes down the trail. For one thing when it doesn't work as a design then the market will crucify this thing.. and then it makes all EV's look bad, right or wrong.

Bad design should be ridiculed and there should be shame in it.
5 Years and 2B and this is what they came up with? I think they must be exaggerating somewhere, I just can't imagine where.

Maybe BMW management got punked by this car design..

@ziggy: wait, you're telling me you don't like that car either?? There's just no pleasing some people! ;-D

The prices quoted for i3 and MS were 41K and 76K -- both base, and then the packages pile on. BMW's packages are reputedly pricey for this car, but not yet revealed.

49K with "extender" 2-cylinder putt-putt.

BMW will offer you a ICE SUV (up to 2 weeks a year) when you need to go a long trip (vacation). What a sweet deal ! :-)

One word. Fugly

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