BMW i3 on sale in Australia in November from $63,900

April 30, 2014

BMW’s first ‘i’ brand vehicle, the BMW i3, will launch in Australia in November, bringing all-new levels of efficiency and performance to the city car segment.

BMW i3

Not only is the i3 an advanced step for BMW, being its first production range-extendable electric vehicle, the i3 demonstrates automotive sustainability thanks to innovative construction. It’s made using plenty of carbon fibre reinforced plastic for the passenger cell, and showcases many ‘green-living’ characteristics.

Simply looking at the exterior, it doesn’t take a second to realise it’s something quite unique and futuristic. In fact, it is, according to BMW, the world’s first premium vehicle that has been designed from the ground up as a electric-based model.

By far the most impressive element of the i3 though is the powertrain. It will be available in two specifications in Australia; a fully electric setup and a range-extended version.

The electric-only model is able to sprint, producing zero emissions mind you, from 0-100km/h in an impressive 7.2 seconds. The top speed is limited to 150km/h to maximise range. Speaking of range, owners can expect to achieve around 130-160km per full charge.

Dynamic Display Ad(Long Version)

When it comes time to recharging, BMW provides a special cable as standard with the car which allows the i3 to be recharged via a regular wall socket. Using this method it takes around 11 hours to fully recharge.

Optionally, customers can buy a BMW i Wallbox Pure from the genuine accessories catalogue. It reduces recharging time to six hours thanks to a 3.7kW unit running at 16 amps.

BMW i3 interior

If you aren’t interested in recharging as much, the range-extender package adds a 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine which produces 27kW. The role of the unit is to maintain charge at a certain level, continuously switching on and off as required.

Due to the weight of the petrol engine, performance does suffer somewhat compared with the electric-only model. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 7.9 seconds, with the top speed remaining at 150km/h. It offers a maximum range of around 240-300km.

Prices for both variants are as follows (excluding on-road costs):

BMW i3 (electric) – $63,900
BMW i3 (range-extender) – $69,900

We hope to get our hands on one of these interesting little machines to review it for you and uncover more of the nitty-gritty details. Stay tuned.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.