Thursday, April 26, 2012

BMW i3: It's bigger on the inside!

Can the interior of a car be bigger then the exterior is? That seems to be the case when I talk to people that have seen and driven in the 2013 BMW i3. I'm not talking about the concept i3 that has been floating around for about 8 months now, I've had the opportunity to speak to people that have driven in a real one during testing.

Just a couple weeks ago I spoke to BMW board member Ian Robertson at the New York Auto Show. Ian was there to make a speech and introduce the new BMW lineup showcased at the show. Right before he was to go on stage for the speech, I just about bumped into him so I introduced myself and we spoke for a good ten minutes. After we spoke for a while he recognized me as the MINI-E pioneer that drove the most miles and he asked how I liked my ActiveE so far. He then told me he recently drove an i3 and promised I would not be disappointed. He sighted the life-drive architecture and floor mounted battery as being responsible for the great performance and the optimization of space in the passenger compartment, allowing the car to feel much larger than what it actually is. Ian isn't the only person I've heard that from either. Also, since the battery is mounted so low and is completely flat, the interior has no transmission tunnel at all and allows the floor to be flat straight across unlike any passenger car that I've ever seen. This, along with the 'bench style' front seats will allow the front passengers to enter or exit the car from either side with ease.

The i3 is also taller and wider than any other car in its class and will have a lot of glass(although not as much as the concept i3 that has glass doors and roof!) providing great outward vision in all directions. This also adds to the feeling of openness. So it seems smaller is bigger with the i3, I hope to get the opportunity to see first hand sometime soon!

Even though the i3 is only 8 inches longer than a MINI Cooper, the interior is much more spacious