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2021 BMW I3 review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

BMW I3 highlights

Customer rating

(not yet rated)

Pros

  • Agile and engaging handling
  • Loaded with tech features
  • Stylish and sleek interior

Cons

  • Reverse-hinged rear doors are awkward to use in parking lots
  • Cargo space could be bigger
  • Only single-zone climate control

126 - 153 miles

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A city-friendly EV that's full of surprises.

The ultimate urban commuting machine, the 2021 BMW i3 is a subcompact EV that offers plenty of range for everyday around-town driving. Smart, stylish, and comfortable for up to four passengers, the 2021 BMW i3 gets an EPA-estimated range of 153 miles on a full battery. Range figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new and assume a full battery charge. If you're looking for a more spirited driving experience, shop for a 2021 BMW i3s, which slightly boosts performance for a sportier ride. And if you'd like more range, the 2021 BMW i3 is available with a tiny two-cylinder gas generator that extends the range when the battery runs out. While we currently do not have many 2021 BMW i3 cars on our lots, we look forward to selling more in the future. If you love the 2021 model, you should also consider prior model years of the BMW i3 with similar features.

All BMW I3 years

What is new for the 2021 BMW I3?

  • The Range Extender and S Range Extender trims have been discontinued for 2021.
  • I3 trims have been upgraded with Harman Kardon Sound as standard equipment this year.
  • Rear Spoiler and Run Flat Tires features are now available as options on select trims.

2021 BMW I3 trims

Curious how BMW I3 trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities

BMW i3: 

  • Heated front seats, iDrive infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, and more.

BMW i3s:

  • Includes everything from the BMW i3 trim, with a 181-hp electric motor, and a sport-tuned suspension.

View all BMW i3s in stock

5 reasons to buy the 2021 BMW I3

1. Useful tech

The 2021 i3 is equipped with the BMW iDrive infotainment system, which you can manage with a dial in the center console. Controls are intuitive, and you get connected tech like Bluetooth® capability, Apple CarPlay® integration, and satellite navigation. The Technology and Driving Assistant Package adds stop/go adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights, and navigation with real-time traffic data (subscription required). 

2. Range extending options

Don't let running out of charge worry you when you get a 2021 BMW i3 equipped with the range extender package. This package adds a 0.6L two-cylinder gas generator and a 2.6-gallon fuel tank. The gas generator kicks in when the charge runs out to give you extra range. The 2021 BMW i3 with the range extender gets an EPA-estimated electric range of 126 miles on a full charge, and another 74 miles using the gas generator.

3. Easy access

Despite how it looks, there are four doors on the 2021 BMW i3, and the rear doors are reverse-hinged. This means doors open extra wide, making it easy to get child seats and cargo in and out of the back. Kids and smaller adults will appreciate the extra space the rear doors provide when hopping in and out of the 2021 BMW i3.

4. Spacious interior

The 2021 BMW i3 is small on the outside, but spacious on the inside. Because the 2021 i3 doesn't have a traditional engine, there's an impressive 83.6 cubic feet of passenger volume. Thanks to its hatchback design, the 2021 BMW i3 offers 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, which is more than enough room for groceries. 

5. Packed with functionality

The 2021 BMW i3 has the functionality you need for daily life. You can fold the rear seats down to adjust the rear cargo space to fit more oversize items. There are even cup holders in the back seat that are easy for passengers to use. Thanks to multiple storage cubbies scattered around the interior, there's more space for storage than first meets the eye. The 2021 BMW i3 proves that ample space can come in a small package.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2021 BMW I3 is not yet rated. Help future customers learn about a car you've owned and write a review.

4
Excellent

RepairPal gave the BMW I3 an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks BMW I3 1st out of 1 among Luxury Cars.

RepairPal reports that the average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a BMW I3 is $586, compared to an average of $586 for Luxury Cars and $591 for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

According to RepairPal, BMW I3 owners bring their vehicles into a repair shop for unscheduled repairs an average of 0.4 times per year, compared to an average of 0.4 times for Luxury Cars and 1.3 times for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

RepairPal reported that the probability of a repair being a severe or major issue is 9% for the BMW I3, compared to an average of 9% for Luxury Cars and 14% for all the vehicles RepairPal considered in its dataset.

BMW I3 features and specs

(no trim) 2WD 4D Hatchback

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Cloth Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Harman Kardon Sound
  • Navigation System
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Parking Sensors
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Traction Control
  • 20 Inch Plus Wheels
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Harman Kardon Sound
  • Leather Seats
  • Leatherette & Cloth
  • Navigation System
  • Parking Sensors
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Rear View Camera
  • Run Flat Tires
  • Sunroof(s)

Drive Wheels

Rear Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size

0.0L

Engine type

Electric

Wheelbase

101.2"

Overall length

158.3"

Width

69.9"

Height

62.9"

Leg room

F 40.5"/R 31.9"

Head room

F 39.6"/R 37.2"

Front tires

P155/70R19

Rear tires

P175/60R19

Seating capacity

4

Transmission

Automatic

2021 BMW I3 FAQ

More about the 2021 BMW I3

Color options

Exterior colors:

  • Capparis White

  • Fluid Black

  • Imperial Blue Metallic

  • Jucaro Beige Metallic

  • Mineral Grey Metallic

  • Melbourne Red Metallic

Interior colors:

  • Deka Dark

  • Giga Brown

  • Mega Carum Spice Gray

  • Tera Dark Truffle

Interior details

There's plenty of room for four passengers inside the 2021 BMW i3—more than you might expect from a subcompact car. Front passengers get an impressive 40.5 inches of legroom, while rear passengers are treated to 31.9 inches of legroom. The interior of the 2021 BMW i3 is uniquely laid out, offering a fresh take on interior style. Plus, there's plenty of space in the large 15.1 cubic-foot trunk.

Child seat details

There are two child seat positions in the second-row seats of the 2021 BMW i3. Thanks to the reverse-hinged rear doors, which open wide, you will have no issue getting child seats in and out of the back. Both seats have upper and lower LATCH anchors that are easy to access and connect. If you have young kids in the back, remind them to open doors carefully in parking lots—those rear doors can open wider than some tight spaces allow.

Performance

If you're looking for the best performance from the 2021 BMW i3, shop for the i3s trim. The 2021 BMW i3s has a top speed of 99 mph and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds (according to the manufacturer, when new). Because the 2021 BMW i3 is built on a carbon-fiber structure, the ride is stiff but absorbs most bumps. The i3s sport-tuned suspension does an excellent job of reducing body roll in turns. Best of all, the 2021 BMW i3s enjoys the same EPA-estimated range as the standard i3 trim—153 miles on a full charge.

Year comparison

2014-2021 BMW i3 (first generation)

The first BMW to feature a fully electric drivetrain, the i3 has a striking design inside and out. The first-generation BMW i3 offers a smooth ride and spacious interior despite its small size, using a lightweight but sturdy carbon-fiber frame. An extended 120Ah battery was added for 2019-2021 models, increasing the EPA-estimated range to 153 miles on a full charge.

 Adaptive LED headlights became standard equipment for 2021 models.


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