Price of excellence
MY three-month stint in BMW’s new i3 ended in embarrassment, after the front door was damaged during a mad rush to catch the school bus.
The i3’s unique door design — the doors open like a clamshell — means the back door has to be closed before the front one is. Unfortunately, in her haste to exit, my daughter forgot this, slamming the front door on the back one.
Impressively, no panels were dented, but unfortunately the impact broke a couple of clips on the front door. A design flaw? Perhaps, although the design does allow for better access to the rear seats than a two-door, and the repair was simple and cheap — roughly an hour’s labour and about $200 all up with parts.
The only other dampener on my final days with the i3 was the effect cold weather (and more importantly heater use) has on the little BMW. On one particularly cool morning, after the heater was turned up to tropical, the range immediately dropped by 10km. It also took a while to heat up, as the heater can’t draw warm air from the internal combustion engine.
Other than that minor gripe, I found I liked the BMW the more I drove it — and I’ll definitely miss it. Although the styling had been the butt of some unkind jokes, I grew to like the space-age exterior look and the airy cabin with its tweed-jacket styling. The i3 is great fun to drive, too, particularly at traffic lights, where it’s a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
It’s not as fast, though as the cheaper BMW 135i — the pricetag is the biggest hurdle for me with the i3.
Then again, I’ve never understood why a Montblanc pen costs hundreds of dollars more than a Kilometrico and I can’t see the point of a Rolex when my iPhone tells the time. Could it be that tight-wad journalists aren’t the i3 demographic?