Some people would kill for this job; I don’t know why they gave it to me. I won’t be surprised if/when they take it away. I do enjoy driving, but I’m no car nut. At times I struggle to find anything interesting to say, so I write about my girlfriend or our kid and our unremarkable lives instead, then work a bit of the car in. Some of you moan: call this a car review? No, not really; try What Car? magazine if you want a proper one of them. Also, you try writing 500 interesting words about a Kia cee’d. Most cars are boring (unless you’re into them, in which case you probably are).
Not this one, though. For the first time in, well, maybe ever, I’ve got a new car that is not only interesting and innovative but also likable. There are loads of electric cars now, most of which are much like any other car, only they’re powered in a different way. Greener, quieter, you can feel better about yourself, but on the downside they’re very expensive and don’t go very far. This one has those issues (though there is a version with a small additional petrol engine to extend the range, but it costs more). But in other ways it’s brilliant.
For one, it’s different, not just a car with an electric motor. BMW has rethought the whole thing. Look at it! It’s made of carbon fibre, it’s light and strong – strong enough to do away with the B pillar between the front and the back. Open the front door, then the back door, which swings the other way, like the previous generation of London taxi, and now it’s properly open, welcoming. Step in!
Inside, it’s light and airy, uncluttered, futuristic. Materials are interesting. I think Kevin McCloud would approve. My son (there he is!) certainly does. His window is low enough to see out of. Not that he wants to; there’s way more interesting stuff going on inside.
To drive, once I’ve figured out how to, it’s a blast. Quick (up there with a hot hatch away from the lights), well-balanced and responsive. Range is between 80 and 120 miles, depending on how you drive it and what setting you have it on: EcoPro+ for more miles but fewer comforts (such as heating); the version with the petrol engine approximately doubles that range.
The i3 has loads of clever tricks up its sleeve. It avoids collisions, with cars and pedestrians. It will stay in its lane on the motorway. And the self-parking is the best I’ve seen. You press a button and it parks – finds the space, turns the wheel, goes backwards and forwards, until it’s in. Free of stress, free of sexism.
I’m practically redundant (that’s fine, I didn’t like driving that much). There really is a sense that this car is heading towards the future. And it’s good to know the future isn’t joyless.
Top speed 93mph
Acceleration 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds
Range 80-120 miles
Eco rating 9/10
Cool rating 9/10