Say Goodbye to the Two-cylinder BMW

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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 parcel shelf 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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 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.

  • Canam23 My old boss had a Seville STS with the Northstar that he would lend me when I wanted to drive from LA to Vegas. I have to admit that I loved it. Compared to my father-in-laws FWD Deville with the 4.1, the Seville was smooth, fast, comfortable and nice handling. It also was stingy on gas. Fortunately he never had a problem with his Northstar motor and I still think fondly of that car today.
  • V16 I'm sure you could copy and paste most of the "NO" responses to 1960's Japanese sourced vehicles.
  • Canam23 I believe the Chinese are entirely capable of building good cars, BYD has shown that they are very forward thinking and their battery technology is very good, BUT, I won't buy one because I don't believe in close to slave labor conditions, their animosity to the west, the lack of safety conditions for their workers and also the tremendous amount of pollution their factories produce. It's not an equal playing field and when I buy a car I want it made with as little pollution as possible in decent working conditions and paying a livable wage. I find it curious that people are taking swipes at the UAW in this thread because you can clearly see what horrific labor conditions exist in China, no union to protect them. I also don't own an iphone, I prefer my phones made where there aren't nets around to catch possible suicide jumpers. I am currently living in France, Citroen makes their top model in China, but you see very few. BYD has yet to make an impression here and the French government has recently imposed huge tariffs on Chinese autos. Currently the ones I see the most are the new MG's, mostly electric cars that remind me of early Korean cars, but they are progressing. In fact, the French buy very little Chinese goods, they are very protective of their industries.
  • Jerry Haan I have these same lights, and the light output, color, and coverage is amazing!Be aware, these lights interfere with AM and FM radio reception with the stereoreceiver I have in my garage. When the lights are on, I all the AM stations havelots of static, and there are only a couple of FM stations that are clear. When Iturn the lights off, all the radio stations work fine. I have tried magnetic cores on the power cords of the lights, that did not makeany change. The next thing I am going to try is mounting an antenna in my atticto get them away from the lights. I contacted the company for support, they never responded.
  • Lou_BC Are Hot Wheels cars made in China?