8 Compelling Reasons to Buy a Used BMW i3 Right Now

Have you considered going electric with your next car purchase? As an early pioneer in the EV space, BMW‘s groundbreaking i3 model delivers innovative high-tech features and forward-thinking design wrapped in a fun-to-drive compact package. With pricing on used models falling since BMW ended i3 production in 2022, now is the perfect time to score a bargain on this unique EV.

Overview: Why An i3 Should Be On Your Shopping List

The BMW i3 brings a perfect storm of attributes to make used examples particularly enticing today. As one of BMW‘s first purpose-built EVs, the i3 served as a showcase for bleeding-edge technology like lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) construction and sustainably-sourced natural interior materials. Early models carried sticker prices around $45,000, but with discounts up to 50% off MSRP, used i3 deals abound during 2022.

The i3 stands out from other affordable EVs with its futuristic styling inside and out. Buyers are treated to zippy handling, spirited rear-wheel drive road manners and excellent around-town maneuverability from the stubby shooting brake body style. Opting for the range-extending (REx) model eliminates range anxiety, delivering real world 200+ miles between fill-ups. Park an eye-catching i3 in your driveway for about the same price as a bland gas-powered economy car!

Eight Reasons Why A Used BMW i3 Belongs On Your Shopping List:

  1. Iconic Styling – The i3‘s concept car looks grab attention everywhere
  2. Value Pricing – Discounts up to 50% off MSRP on used low mileage examples
  3. Engaging Driving Dynamics – Rear drive architecture handles great for a compact EV
  4. No Range Anxiety With REx Option – Add gas engine range extender for 200 mile range
  5. Lower Ownership Costs – Cheap to charge and maintain compared to gas vehicles
  6. Ideal City Size – Easy to park thanks to stubby 159 inch length and tight turning radius
  7. Eco-Friendly Construction – Sustainable materials and 95% recyclability at end-of-life
  8. Strong Resale Outlook – Short production span for innovative BMW EV will uphold values

If you need an efficient, eye-catching ride, scan the listings for a deal on one of BMW‘s unappreciated segment busters. Let‘s analyze why savvy shoppers should seriously hunt for an i3 today.

Standout Looks Make a Statement

The BMW i3 makes its presence felt at first glance with a distinctive profile unlike any other car. Signature rear-hinged back doors provide wow-factor functionality allowing easy rear seat access in tight parking spots. Frameless windows and blacked-out B and C pillars provide wrapped greenhouse glass visual lightness.

Exterior dimensions peg the i3 at 13 inches shorter nose-to-tail than BMW‘s popular 3 Series sedan. So while it occupies a smaller footprint for nimble urban maneuvering, the tall roofline supplies ample interior headroom on par with larger vehicles.

Adding appeal, pops of color on the hood, rear and rooftop contrast the black body framing. Customize your i3 with hues like Molten Red Metallic or Ionic Silver bumping up the visual energy. Despite some funky angles, the cohesive design looks appropriately premium befitting BMW‘s reputation.

Discounted Pricing Makes the i3 A Steal

Launched in 2014, an entry level BMW i3 carried a lofty $45,000 base price presenting a significant barrier to mass adoption. Near the end of its lifespan during model year 2022, an i3 could be configured over $57,000 with options like advanced driving aids, larger wheels, DC Fast Charging and the range extender.

With a decade of depreciation softened by EVs holding value better than internal combustion models, attractive pricing now tempts used EV intenders. Low mileage examples with less than 15,000 miles are advertising between $20,000 to $28,000 in private sale listings during late 2022.

CPO models with extended warranty coverage tack on a small premium hovering around $30,000 and up. But even opting for a certified pre-owned example nets over 50% discount under original MSRP on a gently used premium EV. Savings between $15,000 to $25,000 make the discontinued i3 super enticing for bargain hunters no longer paying full freight.

Punching Above Its Weight Performance Wise

The i3 possesses BMW driving DNA at its core. A rear-wheel drive architecture mounts the 125 kW/170 horsepower electric motor low over the rear axle. Peak torque of 184 lb-ft is instantly on tap resulting in a brisk 6.2 second 0 to 60 mph time. That‘s quicker acceleration than economy EVs like the Nissan Leaf.

Weighing around 2,800 lbs, the carbon-bodied i3 has a lower center of gravity than heavier battery-equipped rivals. These attributes plus near 50/50 front/rear weight distribution imbue sprightly reflexes darting through crowded urban streets. The tight 35.3 foot turning circle easily slips into parallel parking spots and three-point turns.

While hard cornering performance trails heavier premium sedans, the perfectly weighted steering feeds abundant road feel to the driver. Overall, the i3 drives smaller yet more spirited than its eco-friendly compact shape suggests. Don‘t mistake efficient dimensions for boring dynamics!

BMW i3 Performance Specs

Horsepower125 kW / 168 hp
Torque184 lb-ft
0-60 mph6.2 seconds
Top Speed93 mph
Curb Weight2,691 lbs
Weight Distribution46.7% Front / 53.3% Rear
Turning Circle35.3 feet

Alleviate Range Anxiety With the Range Extender

As groundbreaking as BMW‘s electric technology appeared in 2013, critics knocked mediocre real-world range between 80 to 100 miles per charge. This lagged behind Tesla offerings at the time. BMW responded by making the range extender (REx) available from 2014 adding a small 2-cylinder gas engine charging the main battery.

The REx engine and 1.9 gallon gas tank sit up front, allowing the rear-drive architecture to remain intact. Outputting only 34 hp, this auxiliary unit maintains battery charge above critical levels once your EV range depletes. It cannot mechanically drive the wheels. This strategy delivers true 200+ mile range without altering driving character.

The REx distinction turns an i3 into a plug-in hybrid rather than full battery electric vehicle since you have gas backup. But simply plugging in nightly and avoiding lengthy road trips enables enjoying most local trips on all-electric power until your battery needs a top-up. If you need to drive far occasionally, the range extender affordably eliminates hassles.

BMW i3 Range Extender Capability

Pure Electric Range153 miles
Total Range w/ REx200+ miles
Gas Tank Size1.9 gallons
Fuel Economy w/ REx39 mpg
REx Engine Power34 hp

Based on 2015 Model Year EPA Ratings

Lower Operating Costs Compared to Gas Vehicles

Going electric promises savings over gas-powered models beyond environmental benefits. Without oil changes, air filters, spark plug replacements or emission checks, long term maintenance costs drop dramatically. Electric motors themselves last exponentially longer than combustion engines before major repairs become necessary.

BMW initially covered i3 battery packs under defect warranty for 8 years or 100,000 miles. Unless damaged, most packs last 10 to 15 years before range capabilities diminish below 80%. After the warranty period, BMW has stated replacement packs cost between $10,000 and $12,000 including installation fees.

The average US driver covers around 12,000 miles annually. For i3 owners plugging in nightly to maximize EV mode, replaceable components like suspension bushings, brake pads and tires make up the most common repair expenses before hitting 100,000 miles.

Consider too the convenience and cheaper operating costs charging at home costs around $700 annually, saving hundreds over gas fill-ups. Taken together, used i3 running costs look affordable long term even factoring eventual battery replacement way down the road.

Ideal Size for Urban Commuting

The i3‘s compact dimensions make city living a breeze. At just under 13 feet long bumper-to-bumper, the tall hatchback fits into tight parking spaces other EVs struggle with. Compared to the Tesla Model 3 spanning 15 feet, the extra couple feet makes a noticeable difference parallel parking downtown.

BMW‘s brilliant packaging creates an airier cabin than expected given the small exterior footprint. The i3 seats four adults comfortably with space on par with larger vehicles. Plus the rear bench folds flat to haul longer items like golf clubs or that IKEA flat pack furniture.

Cargo dimensions provide a respectable 15.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Folding the 50/50 split bench opens up a long flat load floor netting you 36.9 cubic feet of utility. By mounting slim battery cells under the cabin, BMW created a Tardis-like environment with more room inside than the stubby shape suggests.

BMW i3 Cargo and Storage Comparison

Speci3 DimensionsTesla Model 3 Dimensions
Rear Legroom31.9 inches35.2 inches
Front Hip Room53.1 inches53.4 inches
Rear Shoulder Room49.4 inches54.0 inches
Cargo Volume (seats up)15.1 cu feet15 cu feet
Cargo Volume (seats folded)36.9 cu feet28.4 cu feet

Sustainable Design Minimizes Environmental Impact

Debuting as BMW‘s first dedicated EV product line, the "i" sub-brand put sustainable materials research into practice. Alongside familiar components like aluminum and steel, the i3 body incorporates 25 pounds of recycled plastics and renewable natural materials.

Structural carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) comprising the passenger cell boosts torsional rigidity while cutting weight. BMW claims up to 50% of emissions created manufacturing traditional steel bodies are avoided by using CFRP.

Eco-friendly eucalyptus wood trim and olive leaf tanned leather upholstery add natural texture sans deforestation. Recycled plastic content goes into fabric surfaces and other interior components. Even the standard paint options minimize environmental impact using particulate matter-reduced formulations emitting less waste emissions.

Ambitious sustainability targets aim for 95% recyclability at the i3‘s end-of-life using renewable thermal energy recovery. BMW thinks holistically about the vehicle‘s entire lifecycle beyond tailpipe emissions. Their forward progress benefits drivers and the planet long after an i3 leaves the road.

Strong Outlook for Resale Value Appreciation

BMW enjoys a reputation for building cars upholding their value better than mass market brands. As a niche model produced in limited numbers, the innovative i3 stands to maintain desirability rubbing off from the prestigious roundel badge. With batteries and motors projected to last over a decade unless damaged, there‘s no reason to fear expensive failures if you stick to a low mileage used example.

Review data aggregator iSeeCars analyzed the fastest depreciating EVs during 2022. The BMW i3 appreciated 1.1% over 5 years compared to dropping an average 48.7% across all EVs. BMW managed demand for the i3 avoiding bloated inventories, which stabilizes residual values late model pre-owned prices. Limited supply plus standout style and driving enjoyment provide a buffer against depreciation.

Down the road as more drivers make the electric switch appealing to mainstream buyers, expect the forward-looking i3 to enjoy strong interest. As infrastructure and battery tech continue improving, early adopters should be rewarded for getting behind BMW‘s experiment in sustainable mobility.

What To Watch Out For When Shopping i3 Listings

While the innovative i3 makes a splendid used value proposition, it‘s smart inspecting any complex vehicle before swiping your credit card. Follow these tips ensuring your electric investment gives years of eco-friendly service:

Check Critical Battery Health Metrics:

Modern EVs monitor battery degradation carefully, so don‘t settle for sellers unwilling to share this data. Have them run diagnostics reporting State of Health indicating cells still operating near new capacity levels. Higher is better with 90% or above considered healthy. Also verify available range hasn‘t fallen excessively below EPA estimates.

Ask for Service Records & Get An Inspection:

The i3 requires basic tire rotations and fluid checks under maintenance to keep things operating optimally. Request copies of repair invoices to spot issues early or confirming routine dealer maintenance was performed. Always spend $150 or so getting an independent pre-purchase inspection checking wearable suspension and driveline components.

Take An Extended Test Drive:

Don‘t just drive an EV 2 miles home from the seller‘s house. Arrange driving at least 30 to 50 miles including highway stretches to observe range capabilities and instability warnings. Does the guessed remaining range align with reality? Make sure thermal management and charging ability keep up with your daily needs.

Consider Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) for Added Coverage:

Upfront cost premiums for BMW‘s CPO program bring peace of mind via extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance benefits and multi-point inspections before sale. If something expensive fails down the road, That extra monthly finance charge looks like a wise investment.

Cast Wider Search Nets to Find Good Candidates:

Since the i3 saw limited regional distribution as a compliance car for BMW, locating pristine low mileage examples means looking nationwide. Don‘t limit the hunt to local listings only. The perfect car likely sits a state or two away but can easily be transported.

Wrapping Up – Why The i3 Belongs On Your Shopping Shortlist

If you made it this far, hopefully I‘ve made a thorough case explaining why the discontinued BMW i3 presents such a compelling used buy today. Early adopters loved the quirky concept car styling and sustainable interior material innovations when new models debuted near $50,000. But now with the allure of 50% discount deals on premium EV technology, the barrier to entry is long gone.

While acceleration lags the latest offerings and road trip range may prompt some inconvenience, look past minor limitations appreciating everything the i3 does well. Few eco-cars exude such vibrant personality with the handling prowess reinforcing why BMW fits the "Ultimate Driving Machine" mantra. Plus the peace of mind from proven drivetrain durability and battery management relaxes worries about expensive failures down the road.

Simply put, no other model with equivalent range and usability sells for less than $25,000 today. Take advantage of the i3‘s untimely demise by snagging the last examples of BMW‘s mold-breaking mobility experiment! What was once priced like an exotic sports car now sells for used Nissan Leaf money…

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