BMW i3 Range Extender goes extra mile for electric cars – Express.co.uk

With that knowledge in mind, it is hardly surprising that BMW expects this initially to be the best selling version of the i3. Once drivers become more accustomed to plugging their car in to recharge it at any opportunity, either at home or at one of the few fast charge posts (more of which later), they expect the cheaper all-electric model to increase in popularity.

That is cheaper only in the context of the i3 however. As a small quasi-five door supermini-sized hatchback, there is little question that the i3REX’s £28,830 price tag is hefty compared to its traditionally-engined rivals.

Then again, we firmly believe that this is one of the best electric cars we have driven. The eyecatching looks and styling mean that it gets plenty of attention from other road-users. From inside, the cabin is light and airy. We especially like the wide matt wood strip running from the glovebox lid across the dashboard.

The dual screen dashboard is clearly laid out and easy to understand and the rotary gear selector on the steering column feels surprisingly natural, too, despite its odd location.

On the road the aggressive regenerative braking takes some getting used to and you end up reading the road ahead to sustain your momentum and avoid stop-start driving (which kills the battery’s range) as much as possible. In fact, the regenerative braking is so firm that you can usually drive without touching the brake pedal; something of an odd sensation at first.

Although you can switch between modes (Comfort, Eco and Eco Pro+) we spent much of our time in the mid-range setting, which seems a good compromise. The only drawback to Eco+ is that it also cuts the heater which, in colder weather, makes the cabin a little chilly.

When you are out of your battery-powered range, the Range Extender petrol engine kicks in behind you and helps you to continue your journey. Sounding like a distant sewing machine-like hum, it is never intrusive and is easily drowned out on the road or by the radio.

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