And we absolutely condemn all animal abuse, for the record.
When it was first unveiled in 2013, the BMW i3 quickly proved that it wasn't much of a looker. Still though, its overall design has grown on us over the past few years but we'll never considered it beautiful. The i8? Now that's a different conversation entirely. But for 2017 BMW has given the i3 more than just a simple mid-life update; it's upped driving range by more than 50 percent thanks to a new battery pack. That's quite an accomplishment considering the vehicle is only a few years old.
Our tester 2017 i3, like many other i3s, isn't a pure EV. Its electric motor is paired to a two-cylinder gasoline engine that acts as a Range Extender, so there's zero need for range anxiety. We were also impressed with our car's near 50/50 weight distribution, an 80 percent battery charge in just 40 minutes and its classy, almost IKEA-like interior.
But unlike, say, the Nissan Leaf, the i3 isn't exactly cheap, even when you do factor in US state and federal tax credits. A base 2017 i3 begins at around $42,000, but our i3, equipped with goodies such as the Tech and Diver Assistance Package, Sport 20-inch wheels and a moonroof, came to a grand total of $56,395. Yeah, uh, not cheap. Then again, the 2017 BMW i3 is a techno-packed green vehicle that could be the blueprint for all future BMWs. Special thanks to Niello-BMW Sacramento, part of the Niello Company, for letting us film the car.