Say Goodbye to the Two-cylinder BMW

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
say goodbye to the two cylinder bmw

An altogether odd BMW model will drop one of its peculiarities for the 2019 model year, the automaker has announced.

The i3 — a short, tall, electric vehicle boasting clamshell doors, ultra-narrow wheels, and an optional eucalyptus [s]parcel shelf[/s] dash — will dispense with the range-extended REx variant when the new model arrives. In doing so, the i3 drops the availability of a repurposed 637cc two-cylinder motorcycle engine designed to keep the car moving after its battery taps out.

BMW needed that two-banger to make the stock i3, which debuted with an 81-mile electric driving range, more than just a city car. Later updates brought that range up to 107 miles. Still, even when equipped with the generator, driving range only increased to “up to 180 miles,” according to the automaker. The diminutive powerplant paired with a tiny 2.3 gallon fuel tank.

The i3 went on sale in North America for the 2014 model year.

While the model retains its quirky bodystyle for 2019, battery capacity has increased to the point where BMW feels confident in dropping the gasoline-powered safeguard.

“The Range Extender i3 will cease production and we will only sell the pure-electric version going forward,” the automaker said in a statement. “With the gains in pure-electric range, together with the increasing availability of rapid charging facilities we believe the customer demand is shifting to an pure-electric model.”

Having enlarged the battery to 42.2 kWh, BMW claims drivers should achieve an all-electric driving range of 153 miles. This places the i3 two miles beyond the second-generation Nissan Leaf’s finish line. Power comes in two forms: a 170 horsepower base motor or a 181 hp version found in the sporty i3s model. The latter vehicle completes a 0-60 run in 6.8 seconds.

The timing of the announcement is strange, as BMW announced specs for the new i3 last week. In its U.S. release, the automaker stated, “The 2019 i3 REX model range is expected to be similarly improved, pending EPA certification.”

BMW sold 4,847 i3s in the U.S. in the first nine months of 2018, representing a 4.6 percent increase over the same period last year.

[Image: BMW]

Join the conversation
2 of 11 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 04, 2018


  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Oct 05, 2018

    I had the Rex for a couple of days. It's a fun car. Much better handling than you'd think with those tires that look like they were taken from a Huffy. The problem was that I could smell gasoline when the 2 cyl kicked in. Maybe I got a dud to use, but there's no way I'd consider getting one of these. Plus with the space constraints the i3 is for single people only.

  • Tailpipe Tommy Ask Tyler Hoover, Jason Cammisa, Joe Raiti, Sreten @ M539 Restorations (he's really spectacular), and oh yeah, that Doug DeMuro cat. For better or worse, automotive journalism has moved to YouTube.
  • Ajla A lot of journos liked to sh*t on the NAG1 but I never had an issue with its performance and the forums don't really show it as a trouble spot by the time it got into these. It probably needed just a touch shorter gearing in base form (I think the Magnum offered that on a tow package and the Charger offered it with a performance package or Daytona trim).
  • Fahrvergnugen NA Miata goes topless as long as roads are dry and heater is running, windscreen in place.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic As a side note, have you looked at a Consumers Report lately? In the past, they would compare 3 or 4 station wagons, or compact SUVs, or sedans per edition. Now, auto reporting is reduced to a report on one single vehicle in the entire edition. I guess CR realized that cars are not as important as they once were.
  • Fred Private equity is only concerned with making money. Not in content. The only way to deal with it, is to choose your sites wisely. Even that doesn't work out. Just look at AM/FM radio for a failing business model that is dominated by a few large corporations.