2020 BMW i3 electric

MSRP $47,650 - $51,500

Ranked #7 in Subcompact Hatchback

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2020 BMW i3 electric Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The new BMW i3 has been a decent choice for buyers who prefer the charm of a BMW with the quirky design of an electric vehicle. Although the power offered by its electric motor might not be the best, it is still decent and capable of being a good modern commuter. BMW also offers a range extender with the 2020 i3 as its USP. Along with its electric motor, it gets a two-cylinder engine that acts as a generator and charges the battery. 

More from 2020 BMW i3 electric

2020 BMW i3 electric Exclusive Interior and Exterior Pictures | View latest Pictures

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Pros

Top-notch interior design

Easily maneuverable around town

Lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced chassis

Cons

Poor ride quality at highway speeds

Competitors have more range

Overpriced for the segment

What's New?

Battery capacity was increased from 94 Ah (33 kWh) to 120 Ah (42 kWh)

Front and rear parking sensors are made standard 


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$47650

bodystyle

4dr Hatchback

passenger capacity

4

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

engine type

horsepower

181 hp

torque

199 lbs.-ft.

transmission

Single speed Automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11/10.3 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

101.2 in.

length

158.1 in.

width

70.5 in.

height

62.6 in.

curb weight

3040 lbs.

ground clearance

5.2 in.

capacity

passenger volume

84 cu ft.

cargo volume

36.9 cu ft.

payload capacity

816 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

12 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

S$47,650 onwards

  • 20-inch aluminum Wheels
  • Harman kardon premium audio
  • Multifunction steering wheel

Range Extender$48,300 onwards

  • 50-50 split-bench 3rd row seats

Range Extender S$51,500 onwards

  • Hands-free entry
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Tilt/Telescopic steering wheel
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

Colors and Styles

2020 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.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

8.0

Pricing and Feature

8.0

Features

6.0

Engine and Performance

5.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

4.0

Exterior

5.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

9.0

Final Verdict

5.8

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.0

Overall Rating


The 2020 i3 is part of the first-gen without any major upgrades and starts at an MSRP of $44,450. The compact nature allows it to traverse through city traffic easily and that too with fuel costs not burning a hole in your pocket. And did we tell you, it comes with a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body like the one found in supercars? With ample driver assistance and standard safety tech available, it is safe to say this vehicle is loaded to the brim. Having said this, the 2020 BMW i3 rivals the likes of Hyundai Kona Electric, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and the Nissan Leaf hatchback.


6.0/10
Features

5.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

4.0/10
Interior

5.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety

9.0/10
Competition

5.8/10
Final Verdict


2020 BMW i3 electric Features

6.0/10

The 2020 BMW i3 is offered in two trims- Base and S. Both trims come with Range Extender variants as well. The Base is powered by an electric motor churning out a total engine output of 170 hp while the S Hatchback model puts out 180 hp. On the other hand, the Range Extender trims get a two-cylinder gasoline generator that charges up the batteries as it runs out of juice. As standard, the base model gets Level 3 DC fast-charging capability along with features like SiriusXM satellite radio, exterior thermoplastic bumpers, fenders, and door panels, and much more. 

Trims

Base 

S

Price

$44,450

$47,650

Price (Range Extender) 

$48,300

$51,500

Key Features

Capparis White non-metallic paint with BMW i Frozen Blue accent

Adds or replaces:

 

BMW i U-shaped LED daytime running lights

181-horsepower electric motor

 

Deka World (includes Atelier European Dark Cloth upholstery)

Sport-tuned suspension system

 

Heated front seats

 
 

Kenaf interior dash and door panels

 
 

6.5-inch display

 
 

Apple CarPlay

 
 

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) roof

 

Which Trim should you buy?

We recommend opting for the S trim if you are going to use it for daily commutes only. People who travel between districts very often and are looking for a better range should go for the Range Extender hatchback priced at $3850 more than the base. The top-end trim, the S variant offers additional features to the base model like tilt and telescopic steering wheel column, tire pressure monitor, rear-window defroster, power front windows with "one-touch" up/down operation. It is a great buy even though quite expensive.

2020 BMW i3 electric Engine and Performance

5.0/10

Under the hood, the 2020 BMW i3 is equipped with an electric motor along with a 120Ah lithium-ion battery generating a total engine output of 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of net torque. The S hatchback is equipped with a more powerful powertrain thus churning out better engine output of 181 hp and 194 lb-ft of net torque. Along with the electric motor, the Range Extender trims get a two-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 38 hp and 41 lb-ft torque that can be put to use whenever the battery runs low.

Coming standard with a rear-wheel-drive system, the i3 is closer to the classic BMW formula than one would expect. The ride quality of the i3 is quite decent as well. This is built to navigate through the city; not to win drag races. It drives smoothly in city traffic with a calm and composed personality. Even though it doesn’t get a conventional gearbox, the acceleration is seamless and takes almost 7.2 sec seconds to cover the 0-60 mph run.

Models

2020 BMW i3 hatchback

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV 

2020 Nissan Leaf 

MSRP

$44,450

$45,400

$41,020

$43,900

Engine 

Synchronous Electric Motor

Electric Motor

Electric Motor

Electric Motor

Drivetrain

RWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

1-speed direct drive

1-speed direct drive

1-speed direct drive

1-speed direct drive

Power 

170 hp

201hp

200 hp

214 hp

Torque

184 lb-ft

291lb-ft

266 lb-ft

250 lb-ft

0-60 MPH (sec)

7.2

6.6

6.7

8.2

Quarter mile (sec)

N/A

15.1

15.3

N/A

Top Speed (MPH)

130

132

N/A

N/A

The electric motor powering the i3 isn’t as impressive as expected of a BMW. In terms of engine output, the BMW i3 ranks among the bottom in this lineup with the Hyundai Kona being the best. In the 0-60 mph dash, the Hyundai Kona surpasses the Chevy Bolt by just a tenth of a second. The Nissan Leaf, despite having more power in its kitty takes more time to cover the 0-60 mph run since it is heavier by at least 1000lbs than the BMW.

How well does the 2020 BMW i3 handle?

The battery pack in the i3 is housed at the bottom, thus keeping the center of gravity as low to the ground as possible. As a result, the vehicle gets a stable stance and maintains composure on the corners. Although its tall body design somewhat affects its handling, the lower center of gravity does save the vehicle from body roll. It is not very exciting to drive but the handling is pretty decent. 

Although it doesn’t get a conventional gearbox, the direct speed drive does offer a refined driving experience. However, the skinny all-season tires tend to lose grip on slippery surfaces thus proving to be a weak point of this tallboy i3. Overall, the 2020 i3 is superb and is best suited for navigating through the city traffic. It does its job well in that regard and is quite impressive as a city car.

2020 BMW i3 Braking performance

The 2020 BMW i3 comes equipped with extremely reliable and capable 11-inch brake rotors in the front and rear helping the car to stop in a very short distance. The braking system it gets is very effective; thus it travels just 125 ft before coming to a stop from 60 mph. However, the regenerative braking system feels a little grabby and interferes a bit. It performs well and remains stable under panic braking situations.

Models

2020 BMW i3 hatchback

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV 

2020 Nissan Leaf 

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

12

11

11.1

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

11

11.8

10

11.5

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2972

3836

3563

3946

60-0 mph (feet)

125

129

NA

NA

The 2020 BMW i3 can be considered among the best among its rivals when it comes to braking performance. Although the i3 doesn’t get as big a braking setup when compared to other rivals, its braking potential is quite commendable, all thanks to its light curb weight. When talking about rivals, the Hyundai Kona gets the biggest brake rotors in the segment but fails to deliver due to its heavy curb weight. The Nissan Leaf is the heaviest of the lot; thus expect it to take a few feet more than the i3 to come to a halt.

2020 BMW i3 electric Fuel Economy

9.0/10

The 2020 BMW i3 gives a range of about 153 miles in standard electric-only variants all thanks to the new battery it gets. The Range Extender variant offers 126 miles on battery. The gas engine offered with the Range Extender trims is used to recharge the battery and not to run the vehicle directly. The gas engine is activated as soon as the battery percentage drops to 5 percent and provides an additional 74 miles, pulling up the total range figures to 200 miles. With a Level 3 DC charger, you can juice up 80% of the i3's range in just 40 minutes.

Models

2020 BMW i3 hatchback

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV 

2020 Nissan Leaf 

MPGe (City)

124

132

127

114

MPGe (Highway)

102

108

108

94

MPGe (Combined)

113

120

118

104

Battery Capacity (kWh)

42

39.2

66

62

Range ( Miles)

200

258

259

226

The MPGe offered by the 2020 BMW i3 can be termed as decent but just average when compared to other rivals. In the segment, the Hyundai Kona is the one with best in class economy figures whereas the Nissan Leaf is the one with the lowest EPA estimated figures offered in the segment. Talking about the range offered, the BMW i3 seems to be a decent one only when equipped with the Range Extender. Unlike the others, you always have a reserve 2.3-gallon fuel tank in this particular variant to charge up the battery in case it runs out before you get to a charging station.

2020 BMW i3 electric Interior

4.0/10

The 2020 BMW i3 can seat up to five people comfortably inside its upscale cabin which is the most premium one on offer in this segment. The interior design is quite impressive and futuristic. Talking about comfort, the rear-hinged door in the car allows the passengers to easily hop in and out of the vehicle. The seats are extremely comfortable with the finest quality materials used as expected of a BMW. The cabin offers an ample amount of space in the front but at the rear row, legroom can be a bit of a problem for taller passengers. 

The interior of the i3 is mostly made from recycled material that includes sustainable wood and eco-friendly fabrics that look decent enough. Along with this, the healthy use of wooden panels deserves our special mention. As standard, it gets cloth upholstery and 8-way manually adjustable heated front seats. The i3 can be had with four interior themes available. Opting for the Edition Road style gets you brown leather upholstery and brown wood interior trim.

Models

2020 BMW i3 hatchback

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV 

2020 Nissan Leaf 

Seating Capacity

5

4

5

5

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

39.6/53.6/40.5

38.0/55.5/41.5

39.7/54.6/41.6

41.2/54.3/42.1

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

37.2/49.2/31.9

37.7/54.5/33.4

37.9/52.8/36.5

37.3/52.5/33.5

Cargo Capacity (cu ft)

15.1 

19.2

16.9

23.6

The 2020 BMW i3 offers a really impressive in-cabin experience. Although considering the first row, the Nissan Leaf seems to be a better choice considering the space offered. The Chevrolet Bolt EV outshines the Nissan as we move over to the rear row in terms of space. On the rear row, the BMW i3 offers the least space. Talking about cargo space, the Leaf offers the most spacious trunk among the rivals. Standout interior features in the 2020 BMW i3 are:

  • Heated front seats
  • 6-way manually adjustable front seats
  • Single-zone automatic climate control
  • Heated front seats
  • Cupholders
  • Digital information display

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The 2020 BMW i3 comes standard with the iDrive infotainment system which is among the best infotainment systems offered in the market. This system features a 6.5-inch display along with a rotary knob on the center console. This system gets a number of additional features like Apple CarPlay compatibility and SiriusXM Satellite Radio which includes a free subscription for one year. 

The audio output from its speakers is impressive and among the best in the segment. The system supports standard features like USB, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD radio, and navigation. The i3 also offers optional add-ons like a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, and an advanced navigation system. Standout infotainment features in the 2020 BMW i3 are:

  • Apple Car Play
  • 6.5" central display
  • Navigation
  • AM/FM/SiriusXM Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system (Optional)
  • Wi-Fi hotspot (Optional)
  • Wireless device charging (Optional)
  • Advanced navigation system (Optional)

2020 BMW i3 electric Exterior

5.0/10

BMW boasts how sporty and attractive a subcompact can look through the i3. Instead of going for a typical BMW design, the i3 boasts a boxy appearance along with a futuristic and appealing design to the buyers. In the front, it gets LED headlamps inspired from the i8 and as we move towards the side of the vehicle, a similar quirky design can be seen there as well. 

The side profile also gives an impression of a futuristic and impressive design. The doors for the second-row are rear-hinged allowing opening in the opposite direction just to aid accessibility. However, to access the rear doors, the front row doors should be opened first which is an inconvenience. As standard, you get 19-inch wheels but opting for the i3 S trim gets you 20-inch wheels with performance tires, black exterior trim, sport-tuned suspension, and restyled bumpers.

Models

2020 BMW i3 hatchback

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV 

2020 Nissan LEAF 

Curb Weight (lbs)

2972

3836

3563

3946

Length (inches)

158.3

164.6

164.0

176.4

Width (inches)

69.9

70.9

69.5

70.5

Height (inches)

62.9

61.2

62.8

62

Ground Clearance (inches)

N/A

6.2

N/A

5.9

Wheelbase (inches)

101.2

102.4

102.4

106.3

Talking about the external dimensions, the i3 is inferior considering the length and breadth of the vehicle. However, the i3 is the tallest one boasting a high stance with a boxy design. The Nissan Leaf is the largest vehicle in the lot with a large wheelbase which translates to better interior space. This is the reason it is so much heavier than the rest of the competition as well. Standout exterior features are:

  • Carbon-fiber reinforced composite panels
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Fully Automatic Projector Beam LED Headlights
  • 20-inch wheels with performance tires
  • Black exterior trim
  • Sport-tuned suspension

2020 BMW i3 electric Safety

7.0/10

The 2020 BMW i3 has not been crash-tested by the NHTSA. However, in IIHS tests, the i3 scores the highest overall rating of ‘Good’ along with just ‘Acceptable’ rating in head restraints and seats. This car gets numerous standard safety features like a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and so on. Several driver assistance features are optional like stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam headlights, and automatic parking assist. Standout safety features in the 2020 BMW i3 are:

  • Acoustic safety-belt warning 
  • BMW Assist eCall 
  • BMW Remote Services
  • Front and rear parking sensor
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic parking assist

2020 BMW i3 electric Competition

9.0/10

2020 BMW i3 vs 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

Priced a bit lower than the 2020 BMW i3, the Hyundai Kona offers a better power output than the i3 with better 0-60 timing as well. The cabin quality offered by the BMW is definitely impressive but Hyundai hasn't left any stone unturned in order to deliver the desired vehicle for its buyers. On the rear seats, the legroom is an issue for the i3 although the Kona somehow managed that part. Apart from the impressive performance, Kona offers better EPA figures but its ride quality is quite bad.

2020 BMW i3 vs 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Priced ridiculously lower than the BMW i3, the Chevrolet Bolt EV looks like a strong opponent to the i3 in terms of power output and range than most of the other rivals. The fuel economy is impressive and better in the city than in the i3 as well. The interior of the Bolt is spacious but not quite luxurious as opposed to what the i3 has to offer. The rear row might feel cramped up in the Bolt too. Overall, the i3 is worth the premium.

2020 BMW i3 vs 2020 Nissan Leaf 

The 2020 Nissan Leaf boasts great looks along with impressive standard safety tech. The base Leaf is priced extremely lower than the 2020 BMW i3 which is underpowered by a huge margin. Even with the better motor, it still lags owing to its heavyweight. It lags in terms of efficiency too. As to the in-cabin space, the first row seems to be spacious. The cabin is spacious but isn’t the most lavish this segment has to offer.

2020 BMW i3 electric Final Verdict

5.8/10

The new BMW i3 is an impressive electric hatchback out there in the market. The performance offered by the i3 is decent enough along with decent fuel economy figures. All thanks to its two-cylinder engine on offer, the range of the vehicle is much improved as well. The upscale cabin surely attracts a lot of buyers. The ride quality is impressive too. The power offered by the vehicle might not be the best but it seems to be a decent choice if pricing is not an issue for you.

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