Who’s It For?
The BMW i3 Rex is the updated, range-extender version of the compact BMW i3 Electric Car. It combines the i3’s 33kWh battery pack with a small petrol engine that doubles up as an on-board generator. It’s ideal for buyers who like the idea of an all-electric car, but who want more flexibility and who don’t want to be caught short in the middle of nowhere. The petrol engine tops the battery up when charge is running low but at no point is it used without the electric motor.
BMW claims the i3 Rex can go for 288 miles on a single charge and it costs barely anything to run.
Electric Motor & Handling
The BMW i3 Rex is hardly any weightier than the 1,265kg i3, despite the addition of a petrol engine. This engine is small and lightweight, and slots into the car with ease.
The i3 Rex drives just like the BMW i3 EV and is as playful on the road as all BMW’s are. Its rear-wheel-propulsion helps it to stand out from similar-sized electric cars.
Because its two-cylinder 0.65-litre petrol engine isn’t directly connected to the rear wheels but instead feeds the batteries, the i3 Rex never drives on petrol power alone. Instead, it only cuts in when battery power is getting lower.
The electric motor produces instant torque and can get the i3 Rex from a standstill to 62mph in 8.1 seconds. Off the line, it’s quick and it’s well-suited to towns and cities.
BMW have fitted the car with uprated, short-travel suspension, which is slightly on the firm side. It improves the car’s driving dynamics but body lean is noticeable. BMW have also added enhanced stability control to keep the i3 Rex composed in bends.
Unlike many similar-sized electric cars, the BMW looks like an EV, both inside and out. As always, it looks and feels exactly like a BMW, and quality is evident everywhere.
- Quality – Environmentally friendly materials have been used, such as eucalyptus wood. The minimalist design of the cabin, hi-tech screens and the pillar-less doors further contribute to an upmarket image, while the stalks, pedals and controls operate as slickly as a 3 Series.
- Comfort – Skinny tyres improve the way the car drives, but they do cause it to jerk over poor road surfaces. On the flipside, the driver’s seat and steering wheel are plenty adjustable.
- Insulation – The petrol engine is hush quiet and won’t present any problems. Wind buffeting is fine at lower speeds but picks up as you go faster. It’s much the same with tyre roar, with the lack of engine noise amplifying the other sounds. The upright shape of the i3 Rex further contributes to crosswind.
- Space and Practicality – This is a well-packaged compact electric car. It’s purpose-built, which has allowed the design team and engineers to maximise its dimensions. There’s plenty of space up front, while anyone sat in the rear is well-accommodated.
- Load Capacity – The boot has a total capacity of 1,100-litres when the rear seats are folded. With all the seats up, the boot measures 260-litres.
Range anxiety remains an issue among buyers of EV’s, and BMW have sought to soothe fears with this, the i3 Range Extender which gives buyers more bang for their buck.
- The BMW i3 Rex can keep going for 288 miles on a single charge. When the charge is low, the petrol engine cuts in to top the battery up, a manoeuvre which is barely noticeable.
- BMW claims it takes 40 minutes to recharge the battery to 80%.
- This rapid charge time is made possible by the fact that all models come with DC Rapid Charge.
- A full charge from a domestic three-pin plug takes 10 hours.
- BMW reckons the i3 Rex can return as much as 470.8mpg economy.
- The BMW i3 Rex is free from road fund licence, the London Congestion Charge and road tax.
Need more information? Check out our full review of the BMW i3 Rex here, including comparisons with its closest rivals.