2021 BMW i3 electric

MSRP $44,450 - $51,500

Ranked #11 in Compact Hatchback

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2021 BMW i3 electric Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 19, 2021

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


BMW was one of the pioneers when it comes to EVs and over the years, they have adapted well to the EV space with some futuristic concepts in mind. First introduced in 2013, the BMW i3 is one popular and modest electric vehicle that you can presently buy. The 2021 i3 is offered in a couple of trims with the base trim priced at $44,450 and the i3s at a worth of $47,650.

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Pros

Compact and futuristic design

Impeccable interior quality

Airy and comfortable cabin

Decent handling

Cons

Low driving range

Sloppy acceleration

Expensive than rivals

Small cargo trunk

What's New?

The previously optional Adaptive LED Headlights now come equipped standard


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$44450

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

engine type

horsepower

170 hp @ 4800 rpm

torque

184 lb.-ft.

transmission

1 Speed Automatic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

dimensions

wheelbase

101.2 in.

length

158.3 in.

width

69.9 in.

height

62.9 in.

curb weight

2965 lbs.

ground clearance

5.5 in.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

powertrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

12 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$44,450 onwards

S$47,650 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 BMW i3 electric in Imperial Blue Metallic color
Imperial Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide


The BMW i3 is a proportionately sized car, and it’s quite easy to park. For the 2021 Model year, the vehicle now comes standard with Adaptive LED Headlights which were optional before. Moreover, the interior is minimalistic but very advanced and way ahead of its time. The 2021 BMW i3 competes against the likes of Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Nissan Leaf.

2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback front view
2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback rear view

2021 BMW i3 electric Features

BMW offers the 2021 i3 in a couple of trims- i3 and i3s. Both the models come in RWD drivetrain and single-speed auto transmission but with the i3s you get a significant power boost. There is quite a generous amount of standard features, but when you get the i3s you get better features like Sport suspension and SPORT driving mode with adapted sport driving pedal behavior. Other significant features are listed in the table below.

Trim

i3

i3s

MSRP

$44,450

$47,650

Key Features

19" BMW i light alloy Turbine style bicolor wheels

20" BMW i light alloy Double-spoke style bicolor with mixed tires 431 wheels

 

6.5" high-resolution screen

More powerful electric motor

 

LED headlights

Sport suspension

 

Dynamic brake lights

i3s specific High-gloss Black inlay front bumper

 

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body structure

Front floor mat with i3s model designation in the center

 

Rear Spoiler, Black with integrated LED brake light

i3s specific steering characteristics

 

3-stage heated front seats

SPORT driving mode with adapted sport driving pedal behavior

 

Automatic one-zone Climate Control including micro-filter and automatic air recirculation

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Roof

 

Andesite Silver metallic effect interior trim

BMW Teleservice USB Connection

 

Deka Dark Cloth upholstery

Kenaf interior dash and door panels

 

BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation system

Rearview Camera and Rear Parking Aid

 

Apple CarPlay

Park Distance Control Front And Rear Parking Sensors

 

BMW ConnectedDrive Services

Integrated Navigation System

 

Rear Park Distance Control

Apple CarPlay Compatibility

Which Trim should you buy?

The 2021 BMW i3s is priced at $3000 more and you get a more powerful and efficient electric motor, sport suspension, bigger alloys, and many more. We recommend the i3s with the Technology+ Driving Assistant Package because it gets you better in-car features and most importantly better-added safety features.

2021 BMW i3 electric Engine and Performance

The 2021 BMW i3 is an All-electric AC motor powered by a 42.2 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor comes coupled with a single-speed automatic transmission. The standard motor is capable of generating 168 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. That helps the car run from standstill to 60mph in 7.2 seconds. It can reach up to 93 miles an hour before it runs out of steam. If you spend extra money on the i3s, the performance slightly increases. The i3s’ motor generates 181 hp and 199 lb-ft torque. The i3s do 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and have a maximum speed of 99 mph. 

2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback driving view

The motor that powers the i3 doesn’t perform like the conventional cars the company makes, but the motor’s behavior is pleasant. The motor feels smooth and has a good initial punch in the low revs. With the range extender, you get a 0.6L two-cylinder engine and a 2.3-gallon fuel tank which functions as a generator to keep the car going once the charge runs dry. Overall, it’s a fun-to-drive car in the city, easy to maneuver, and offers smooth driving dynamics.

Models

2021 BMW i3

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

MSRP

$44,450

$36,500

$37,390

$38,270

Engine 

Electric motor

Electric motor

Electric motor

Electric motor

Drivetrain

Single-speed direct drive

Single-speed direct drive

Single-speed direct drive

Single-speed direct drive

Transmission

RWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Power 

168hp 

200hp

201hp

214hp

Torque

184lb-ft

266lb-ft

291lb-ft

250lb-ft

0-60 MPH (sec)

7.2

6.5

7.2

7.4

Quarter mile (sec)

N/A

14.9

15.1

N/A

Top Speed (MPH)

93

93

104

98

The BMW i3 is the most expensive car here and happens to be the least powered and one of the weak performers. On the contrary, the Hyundai Kona is $7000 cheaper and offers the same performance as the BMW. Chevy’s Bolt here being the cheapest, offers the best value and power considering the price. It puts out 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque which is one of the best in the segment.

How well does the 2021 BMW i3 handle?

The BMW i3 offers a delightful experience when it comes to handling. The steering feels light, responsive, and smooth. It is well suited for short commutes inside the city. The car weighs 2972 lbs. which is much lesser compared to its rivals; owing to this there is minimal body roll and the car doesn't get thrown while cornering. It is calm and composed even at high speeds.

2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback handling

It also happens to be the smallest car in the comparison, which gives it the advantage to be nimble while navigating through traffic. It can tread through tight alleys and is easy to park in the lot or any available spaces. Maneuvering it around the city is a piece of cake in the BMW i3s. Moreover, in the i3s you get a sport-tuned suspension which offers a stiffer ride and minimum body roll.

2021 BMW i3 Braking Performance

One of the best attributes of the 2021 BMW i3 is its braking. The car comes fitted with 11” disc brakes on all the wheels which are further complemented by ABS, Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), DSC, Brake Fade Compensation, and Brake Drying. The efficient braking system aids the car to break from 60mph to 0 in just 108 feet.

Models

2021 BMW i3

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

11

12

11.1

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

11

10

11.8

11.5

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2972

3563

3,715

3850

60-0 (feet)

108

N/A

129

128

The BMW i3 has the lowest curb weight among all the cars here. The lighter curb weight does really show excellent braking performance. On the other way round, the Nissan Leaf is the heaviest here weighing around 3850 lbs and comes with the biggest brake rotors measuring 11.1 inches in the front and 11.5 inches in the rear. It takes the longest to stop from 60mph in 129 feet.

2021 BMW i3 electric Fuel Economy

With increasing pollution levels and fuel costs, EVs are becoming the new normal. The i3 comes packed with a 42.2 kWh lithium-ion battery which helps the car offer an exemplary mileage of 124,102 and 113 MPGe in the city, highway, and combined driving cycles respectively. You can additionally purchase a range extender costing 4 grand extra. The 0.6L generator will increase the driving range significantly.

Models

2021 BMW i3

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

MPG (City)

124

127

132

123

MPG (Highway)

102

108

108

99

MPG (Combined)

113

118

120

111

Range (miles)

153

259

N/A

150

The BMW i3 comes with the smallest battery capacity, which makes it the lightest. Moreover, it offers one of the lowest MPGe and range but greater compared to Gasoline vehicles. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Bolt EV packs more power, more battery capacity and offers nearly 259 miles on a single charge. It is nearly 100 miles more than its competition which is amazing indeed.

2021 BMW i3 electric Interior

The 2021 BMW i3 comes with a sleek and ultra-modern cabin. The cabin is somewhat airy and can seat 4 people. As standard, the interior comes in Andesite Silver Matte interior trim with Dark Deka Cloth upholstery. The dashboard is decorated with Kenaf fiber and the controls in it are user-friendly and well within the driver’s reach. The seats are wide, supportive, and somewhat sporty in design, and are wrapped with Dark Deka Premium cloth. The front seats are heated and can be manually adjusted. 

2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback seats

Moreover, the front seats are placed in an upright manner which helps the driver have a wide and commanding view of the road ahead. Standard interior features consist of 3-stage heated front seats, tilt-telescopic and multi-function steering wheel, single-zone automatic climate control with micro filter and automatic air circulation, 50/50 split rear seats, and 12V power outlet. At the rear, you get 15.1 cubic-foot of cargo space which can be used to store small bags and light luggage. The rear seats can be folded in a 50/50 split to increase cargo space up to 36.9 cu.-ft.

2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback cockpit area

Models

2021 BMW i3

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

Seating Capacity

4

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.6/53.6/40.5

39.7/54.6/41.6

38.0/55.5/41.5

41.2/54.3/42.1

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.2/49.2/31.9

37.9/52.8/36.5

37.7/54.5/33.4

37.3/52.5/33.5

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

15.1

16.9

19.2

23.6

The 2021 BMW i3 being significantly smaller in size than the others is the only 4 seater car; the rest come with 5 seats as standard. Nissan Leaf offers the most spacious front row while the Bolt offers the most spacious rear row. The rest of them feel uncomfortable and cramped in the rear seats. When it comes to trunk capacity, the Nissan Leaf enjoys the largest trunk of 23.6 cubic feet. Some of the standout interior features in the 2021 BMW i3 include:

  • Andesite Silver Matte interior trim
  • Deka Dark Cloth upholstery
  • Tilt/telescopic and multi-function steering wheel
  • 3-stage heated front seats
  • Automatic one-zone Climate Control with micro-filter and automatic air recirculation
  • 50/50 split-folding rear seats
  • Cabin heating system (O)

What’s there to keep you entertained in the 2021 BMW i3?

The 2021 BMW i3’s infotainment Unit feels dated compared to the futuristic-looking exterior and sleek cabin. However, it isn’t that bland either. As standard, it comes equipped with a 6.5-inch high-resolution display screen placed like a docked tablet (can be controlled with a rotary knob) and a 4-speaker audio system 

Other infotainment features include Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, HD radio, and navigation. In addition to that, you also get Bluetooth wireless technology, audio streaming, and hands-free services. BMW offers some optional features that include a premium audio system by Harman Kardon, Wireless Charging, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Some of the standout infotainment features in the 2021 BMW i3 include: 

  • 10.25” high-resolution display (optional)
  • 4-speaker audio with AM/FM/MP3
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio (1-year subscription included)
  • HD Radio
  • Apple CarPlay
  • BMW ConnectedDrive Services
  • Bluetooth hands-free and streaming
  • Wireless Charging (O)
  • Wi-Fi hotspot (O)
  • 12 Speaker Premium audio by Harman Kardon (O)

2021 BMW i3 electric Exterior

The 2021 BMW i3 comes with one big change in its exterior styling. You now get adaptive LED headlights which used to be optional. BMW has kept its iconic styling in its EVs; the kidney grille in between looks excellent and suits the car’s EV personality. Moreover, you also get dual-tone colors to amp up your personality. The headlights are stylish and futuristic integrated with LED daytime running lights.

2021 BMW i3 electric Hatchback

As standard, 19” BMW Turbine-spoke alloys come standard in the i3 and the i3s get the 20” Double-spoke bi-color alloys. The i3 is one of the lightest and compact cars in the segment. It’s fun to drive the car in the city as it moves quickly and treads through tight spaces with so much ease. In terms of exterior dimensions, it measures a length of 158.3 inches and a width of 69.9 inches.

Models

2021 BMW i3

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

Curb weight (lbs)

2972

3,563

3,715

3909

Length (inches)

158.3

164

164.6

170.4

Width (Inches)

69.9

69.5

70.9

70.5

Height (Inches)

62.9

62.8

61.2

61.6

Ground clearance (inches)

N/A

7.9

6.2

5.9

Wheelbase (inches)

101.2

102.4

102.4

106.3

The 2021 BMW i3 is the lightest and the smallest car in the comparison, whereas the Nissan Leaf is the largest and also happens to be the heaviest. Chevy’s Bolt has the best ground clearance of 7.9” which makes it the best EV to ride in terrains and jittery roads. The Leaf’s heavy and large size makes it the most challenging to control and difficult to maneuver in city conditions. Some of the standout exterior features in the 2021 BMW i3 are:

  • 20" BMW i Double-spoke bi-color wheels
  • Power-folding, heated side mirrors
  • Programmable LED Daytime Running Lights
  • Icon Adaptive Full LED Headlights
  • Dual-tone Body Paint
  • Dynamic brake lights
  • Black rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light
  • 20” Jet black I Light alloy wheels (O)

2021 BMW i3 electric Safety

The 2021 BMW i3 comes with a good amount of safety features and a nice built quality. The IIHS has rated it “GOOD”. The car is based on a tensile and rigid chassis which is mainly made from aluminum and steel. The cabin comes fitted with a standard airbag system. Additionally, there are safety and driver-assist programs. Some of the standout active and passive safety features include:

  • Cornering Brake Control (CBC)
  • Automated parking system
  • Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Acoustic pedestrian protection
  • BMW Assist eCall includes Emergency Request (SOS button)
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Stop-and-go adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic cornering headlights
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist

2021 BMW i3 electric Competition

2021 BMW i3 vs 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is the real deal here when it comes to buying an EV. It offers good power output and performance. Additionally, the Bolt comes packed with a bigger battery capacity which is 18 KWh bigger than the i3, and in return offers a good range. However, the i3 comes with comparatively better looks and standard features, a smaller body, and is lightweight. The smaller body makes it better to drive in congested conditions like city traffic and tight alleys.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2021 BMW i3 vs 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

The 2021 Hyundai Kona electric is the clear winner here. Firstly, it is way cheaper than the i3. Secondly, it offers a very good power output and performance. And the Kona looks like a futuristic EV with an exemplary design language, with great exterior looks and a sleek interior. In addition to that, the Kona offers the best mileage in the segment and a large cargo trunk.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 BMW i3 vs 2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

It’s a matter of taste here. You can either go with the BMW or the Nissan. The BMW has a more appealing exterior and the cabin looks futuristic and sleek. In the performance section, though it misses out on power it offers comparatively better mileage than the Nissan.

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

On the contrary, some may prefer Nissan because of its lower cost. Moreover, some may prefer the larger body size compared to the compact size of the i3.

2021 BMW i3 electric Final Verdict

Being one of the early innovators, BMW has done well over the years in the EV segment. The BMW i3 looks a bit dated but still looks good. It comes with a sleek and opulent cabin with all the necessary features built-in, and very good mileage. One of the things that it falls short in is the 4-seater accommodation. The motor that powers the car just feels adequate for daily tasks and short commutes. BMW’s reliability, vast standard features, the lighter and compact body helps it stay in the competition. And if you’re willing to get one, it's a good choice.