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Frank Bullitt

BMW i3 - Test Sit

First time I have ever been to a BMW launch event and I was very impressed with the organisation of it all. The i3 is touring the uk at the moment and Elms if Cambridge had their launch today along with some of BMW's Heritage Collection, first a real treat which those of you who watch Wheeler Dealers might recognise - it's mint;



A 507 insured for £650k - achingly stunning;



A Neu Klasse, just looks so...'right';





2002ti, very pretty;



Nicely hidden;



A chap, who I assumed to be the dealer principal, spoke for about 20 minutes to video and the unveiling of the Heritage Collection followed by a local dance group taking the floor - really impressed with them and Elms, as a local business, supporting these guys and giving them some prime visibility, at the end of their session they introduced the i3;





I love the shape, it tickles my gooch;





Inside it's fantastic - feels like a natural successor to the A2, the driving position is superb, the wheel is thin but positioned beautifully and the controls all fall to reach with ease including the bizarre drive selector on a stalk to the right of the wheel, I could get use to this - sadly they have nicked the A2's huge A-pillar;



Real carbon fibre on show in the cills, a tasty touch;



It won't surprise you to learn that I like the shape and buy into the range extender, I think it's wonderful;



Suicide door or whatever BMW will call it;



It's difficult to spend any time with a car at a launch but in the short time we were there both mrs FB and I decided we wanted to know more; we'll be organising a test drive, as a long term investment a range extender may just be justifiable!
PG

.... feels like a natural successor to the A2......


That sounds like tempting fate....

Good write up and some great heritage stuff there. [/quote]
Martin

Looks like an interesting evening.

I had a good poke around the i3 several weeks ago and it really is a nice car with a lovely interior.  You just know it's going to have that well engineered / bespoke feeling you get in the MINI with bells on.
Frank Bullitt

It was 11am Martin! (They put black paper over all the windows), FB junior came too and enjoyed himself but wouldn't get in the car

PG wrote:
.... feels like a natural successor to the A2......


That sounds like tempting fate....

Good write up and some great heritage stuff there.


Spiritually, not specifically in my home! I'm thinking more of running both.

Oddly, I'm not going back today for the launch of the 'new' X5!
PhilD

Judging by the blurry picture you got a bit excited when it was unveiled!  

I need to have a poke around just to satisfy my curiosity (i.e. no chance of getting one)
Nelson

is it true that you can't open the rear passenger windows? dreadful idea if that's true

I don't think the front is unattractive, but the side profile is a disjointed mess of shapes and badly executed design in my opinion.

I really cannot warm to electric cars even if the concept is commendable.
Frank Bullitt

I was stretching the avoid the dealer principal (only partially successfully) who stood right in the way!

Nelson wrote:
is it true that you can't open the rear passenger windows? dreadful idea if that's true


You can't, it is wider than the metal it would drop down on to (see last piccie) - lack of opening rear windows doesn't register remotely as an issue - a-la most cars without rear doors and the Citroen C4.
Humphrey The Pug

I love the look of the car overall however I just can't get the Meriva out of my head when I see the side profile:





Bob Sacamano

Actually, when you put them side by side like that the Meriva is the much better resolved design - particularly in profile. The BMW is trying just a bit too hard around the rear three quarters.
Roadrunner

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Actually, when you put them side by side like that the Meriva is the much better resolved design - particularly in profile. The BMW is trying just a bit too hard around the rear three quarters.


...but then nobody buys any BMW for the styling, other than perhaps Stevie Wonder.
Bob Sacamano

Roadrunner wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Actually, when you put them side by side like that the Meriva is the much better resolved design - particularly in profile. The BMW is trying just a bit too hard around the rear three quarters.


...but then nobody buys any BMW for the styling, other than perhaps Stevie Wonder.


New BMW 5 Series? New 3 Series Touring?, 6 Series Coupe? 4 Series, 2 Series? I'd argue they were all well styled cars.

I don't know if anyone else gets the BMW magazine delivered but the new one has a large article on the i3, it's construction and design etc. If anyone is interested I could scan it and email it to them.
Blarno

Shit the bed, that is a munter of a car. I mean actually, wilfully, purposely ugly.

Nein danke.
Frank Bullitt

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Roadrunner wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Actually, when you put them side by side like that the Meriva is the much better resolved design - particularly in profile. The BMW is trying just a bit too hard around the rear three quarters.


...but then nobody buys any BMW for the styling, other than perhaps Stevie Wonder.


New BMW 5 Series? New 3 Series Touring?, 6 Series Coupe? 4 Series, 2 Series? I'd argue they were all well styled cars.

I don't know if anyone else gets the BMW magazine delivered but the new one has a large article on the i3, it's construction and design etc. If anyone is interested I could scan it and email it to them.


Yes please Bob, I'd be very interested to read that - I'll PM you my details.

I think it's an easy sop to suggest BMW's are 'ugly' as a Bangle backlash; my mate and I noticed an E60 M-Sport with the 19" wheels yesterday on an '06 plate following an E36 318i coupe - the E60 was much derided of course but I think it still looks incredibly crisp and not a decade old, the E36 on the other hand was nice but looked over 20 years old (which it is).  I like a bit of challenge in the design, nothing wrong with it at all!
gonnabuildabuggy

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Roadrunner wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Actually, when you put them side by side like that the Meriva is the much better resolved design - particularly in profile. The BMW is trying just a bit too hard around the rear three quarters.


...but then nobody buys any BMW for the styling, other than perhaps Stevie Wonder.


New BMW 5 Series? New 3 Series Touring?, 6 Series Coupe? 4 Series, 2 Series? I'd argue they were all well styled cars.

I don't know if anyone else gets the BMW magazine delivered but the new one has a large article on the i3, it's construction and design etc. If anyone is interested I could scan it and email it to them.


I'm with Bob. I think the Bangle and after cars look good, but.....they are very wheel size/colour sensitive. I think they've recognised this and all models now have good sized alloys.
Bob Sacamano

It's certainly not ugly but there's a limit to what you can do with a one box design. In these cases form tends to follow function and I'd guess when they did that what they ended up with was basically an A2 design/shape. Not wishing to look as if they are re-inventing the wheel I suppose the designers took that shape and then put some BMW flourishes on it. BMW designs do tend to grow on you and I'd agree with others that, while challenging initially, Bangle and subsequent designs tend to age well. Pre-Bangle designs in the "same sausage, different length" years always looked neatly styled when launched and then aged quite quickly.
Martin

Frank Bullitt wrote:
I think it's an easy sop to suggest BMW's are 'ugly' as a Bangle backlash; my mate and I noticed an E60 M-Sport with the 19" wheels yesterday on an '06 plate following an E36 318i coupe - the E60 was much derided of course but I think it still looks incredibly crisp and not a decade old, the E36 on the other hand was nice but looked over 20 years old (which it is).  I like a bit of challenge in the design, nothing wrong with it at all!


Unsurprisingly, I agree!

The Bangle cars really have stood the test of time well.  I didn't like any of them initially, but they all still look good today (imo).  

You really appreciate all the curves and details when you own one and wash it yourself too.
Frank Bullitt

Interestingly I thought I'd see how the i3 stacks up as a lease car through work - without salary sacrifice the range extender with Loft interior is £638pcm (ouch) but with salary sacrifice and £0 company car tax (kerchow) it is £278, comparable to a 2008 diesel or basic Golf diesel.
gonnabuildabuggy

Frank Bullitt wrote:
Interestingly I thought I'd see how the i3 stacks up as a lease car through work - without salary sacrifice the range extender with Loft interior is £638pcm (ouch) but with salary sacrifice and £0 company car tax (kerchow) it is £278, comparable to a 2008 diesel or basic Golf diesel.


Result.

Perhaps I should lease one as a company car.
Martin

Bargain.  What's stopping you?

The one I looked at had the Suite interior, I'd go for that.
Tim

Frank Bullitt wrote:
.....with Loft interior.....


Does it have a coombed roofline?

I don't think the Bangle era cars are particularly ugly but I do think the current range manages to be both bland - due to looking just like each other - and overstyled with fussy details, although on that 2nd point they're nowhere near as bad as Mercedes 'it's for the Chinese Market' Benz.
Twelfth Monkey

Tim wrote:
the current range manages to be both bland - due to looking just like each other - and overstyled with fussy details, although on that 2nd point they're nowhere near as bad as Mercedes 'it's for the Chinese Market' Benz.


I'd agree with that, though I really like the i3.
gonnabuildabuggy

Martin wrote:
Bargain.  What's stopping you?



Well big little GBB learns to drive the fleet may well need a re-jig and an electric car is under consideration (vaguely!)
PG

Martin wrote:
The Bangle cars really have stood the test of time well.  


I'd agree that the 5 series has aged well, but you can't say that about his 7 series. The weird front light treatment and flying bootlid looked awful then, and still do - if I ever see one, which is a very rare occurrence.
Martin

gonnabuildabuggy wrote:
Martin wrote:
Bargain.  What's stopping you?



Well big little GBB learns to drive the fleet may well need a re-jig and an electric car is under consideration (vaguely!)


Sorry, that was more aimed at FB as I typed it before I saw your post, but interesting that you might consider one.
PG

An interesting angle on this is to take this thread in conjunction with the death of diesel discussion in General.

As diesel becomes a more expensive option engineering wise - and so ownership wise - and as battery costs come down, and hopefully efficiency goes up, small capacity ultra-efficient petrol engines plus batteries in hybrid or range extenders are going to get a lot more interesting.

But you also need to add a third strand into this. The ever increasing sophistication of sound simulators.

My drive in the IS300 hybrid F sports showed that if the sound insulation can remove you well enough from what is actually going on, then a sound simulator and some clever auto gearbox software can give you a whole different view if what you are driving. Whereas Lexus have an uphill struggle with this, I bet if ze Germans adopt this, it'll be a different matter.

That BMW passing you on the M4 will be the new 320H (or 318H, 323H, 328H, 335H), all with a 900cc range extender engine and battery (in various states of electronic tune for both) plus a noise generator.

It'll still sound crap from outside the car though.
Twelfth Monkey

Sound generators just make me think 'here's what you could have won'.  Though from what I understand, most seem to have been poorly-received.
PG

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
Sound generators just make me think 'here's what you could have won'.  Though from what I understand, most seem to have been poorly-received.


I would think that you need some very good speakers to pass the sound through, otherwise it will just sound cheap and crap. Rather like listening to your favourite music on iPad speakers v a hifi.

So I suppose there'll be no change from current cars really. The cheap ones with standard ICE will still sound crap and the expensive ones with IC  HiFi will sound a whole lot better.  
Racing Teatray

I had a test-sit in an i3 at Vines today while they changed the exhaust on my car.

There are no two ways of saying this: I didn't like it at all.

The exterior styling is fresh, I'll admit, but still really very ugly. And then it had a strange rather van-like interior that made the car feel bigger than it presumably was, with seats that looked like they were modelled on a Latin teacher's jacket (i.e scratchy grey tweed with beige leather patches), a small beige steering wheel, some light wood trim that looked exactly like it was nicked from a 1970s formica side board and large grey expanses of what looked like untreated fibreglass that was quite horrible to touch.
Alf McQueef

That is something of a shame for BMW, Racing, as you are probably the sort of person they hope might buy one as a city car!
Roadsterstu

Racing Teatray wrote:
I had a test-sit in an i3 at Vines today while they changed the exhaust on my car.

There are no two ways of saying this: I didn't like it at all.

The exterior styling is fresh, I'll admit, but still really very ugly. And then it had a strange rather van-like interior that made the car feel bigger than it presumably was, with seats that looked like they were modelled on a Latin teacher's jacket (i.e scratchy grey tweed with beige leather patches), a small beige steering wheel, some light wood trim that looked exactly like it was nicked from a 1970s formica side board and large grey expanses of what looked like untreated fibreglass that was quite horrible to touch.


I couldn't disagree more with you. I thought the interior was spectacular. A very brave and fresh take on car interior design. It certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea but then "good"design often divides opinion.
Martin

The three trim levels are very different, the one I sat I had the 'Suite' interior which was really smart. I wouldn't like the 'Lodge' interior that Racing describes either.

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