The BMW i3 has never been a rational purchase. Its revelation was to bring innovation and desirability, five years ago, to an embryonic market for electric cars that needed every fillip it could get. 

However, the EV market has developed and changed with alarming pace and now offers several options with significantly more usable range than the i3 and significantly better practicality, many of which cost significantly less. BMW’s range-extension option may mitigate one of those vulnerabilities and the i3s’s charm and zip partly compensate for the others.

Richard Lane

Road tester
Still better to drive than any other EV, but not better to own

But you still have to wonder how many EV owners wouldn’t rather have a genuine 150-mile affordable EV than a cross-breed that needs to burn fossil fuel to cover the same trip. Because, in 2018, they can have one – with plenty of change.

For those reasons – admitting that this car remains a superb mode of city transportation, a near-perfect second car and the best of its breed as a driver’s car – we must reclassify the i3 as an enduringly bold and likeable, but no longer outstanding, electric hatchback.

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