Okay, I liked it a hell of a lot more than I expected to.
We’re talking about the new electric BMW i3, the boxy little “city car” that started life as the megacity car. While I have long admired the concept and the technology, I am afraid that the design of the little rat has been mostly lost on me; I think its front end, instead of the raptor look of most conventional BMWs, looks more like one of the vengeful avians from Angry Birds.
I had forgotten about the torque.
Here’s the thing: We are in Monterey for the races and the shows, the week before we are to revel in Oktoberfest and its myriad activities for BMW junkies, and we are leaving Baja Cantina to return to our waterfront Monterey hotel in the press bus. (A press bus is a very, VERY good idea when you have journalists who are likely to try to set the record for tequila shots chased by lime.) And suddenly NAME REDACTED asks if we want to ride back to the hotel in the electric i3. Well, cool! So we clamber in via the skinny back doors—okay, the skinny half back doors—and we set out in a post-tequiloid fog—
—only to find ourselves challenged by a lowly Mini Cooper S driven by a delinquent press lackey in the pay of BMW.
But he might as well be employed by Mini: He is chirping the tires at every green light, and at one point, he actually manages to slide past the i3 to sit side-by-side at a red light. Ah, but that intersection, we are both turning left—and when the light turns green and ANOTHER NAME REDACTED takes the Mini through the corner, he takes the outside lae, whereupon FINAL NAME REDACTED, a journalist in the front seat, cries, “Take him on the inside!”, why, that’s exactly what we do, roaring—oh, wait: This is an electric car, so there is no roar—past the Mini and down into a tunnel, where I’d like to report that the throaty snarl of the engine reverberates off the walls, except that there is no snarl, just the noise your Roomba makes, though we are faster.
I, of course, am in the back seat, admiring the fit and finish of the i3, silent rocket that it is; and it doesn’t hurt that its batteries are all beneath us, giving it the center of gravity of a pregnant armadillo. We are flat haulin’ the mail in the little rascal, and although BMW might prefer to present us with this car at some later point with a staid message about Social Responsibility and Sustainable Maturity, the fact is that this here little hot rod is ludicrous fun.
We will have more on the i3 in months to come, of course, including a proper introduction. But for now, it’s as though we kidnapped the bride on the way to her wedding and went joy-riding—and it was goooood.—Satch Carlson.Back to News