In a few ways – control weighting and consistency – the i3 drives similarly to other BMWs. But in most respects it’s nothing like any other BMW at all.
Where it differs most are via its dimensions, which are reflected in the way that it drives. Because it’s tall, narrow and short and has a tight turning circle, the trademark feeling of stability and solidity that you get with most BMWs is notable by its absence.
Around town, the i3 has a firmness to its ride (to help prevent this high car from lolling around) that never leaves it. Throw in a rear weight bias – 57 percent of the mass is over the back axle – and it’s inevitable that the i3 has dynamics that make it more like, say, a Mitsubishi i than a 7 Series.
Up the speed and the i3 makes a slightly nervous motorway companion, one that is quick to change direction and react to minor steering inputs. It’s not a big deal or a great criticism – just unexpected from a BMW.
BMW has sensibly made the stability control system on the i3 one that will not switch out, although it is possible to turn off the traction control should you want to allow the wheels to spin up to gain purchase in poor conditions.
On normal surfaces, you’ll have to try hard to trouble the DSC system, because the i3 – despite its minimal surface contact with the road – generates a commendable amount of grip, at 0.74g, so it doesn’t feel out of its depth on back roads.