BMW's All-Electric 3 Series, the i3, Gets Smashed by Rivals in a Drag Race

All-Electric Drag Race 8 photos
Photo: Yiche Original on YouTube
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BMW has a new i3 that is not a hatchback but a sedan. It’s the facelifted current generation 3 Series (G20). But it is available only in China and solely as a long-wheelbase model. Here’s how it fares against some of its competitors.
BMW’s current lineup of all-electric vehicles includes the i4, the i7, the iX1, the iX3, and the iX. In some markets like the UK, the i3 continues to be offered as a hatchback simply because it's still in inventory. The Bavarians stopped making it in July this year. In other regions like North America, the iX1 and the iX3 are nowhere to be found. But one thing remains true for almost all parts of the world – only China gets to see the current 3 Series as an EV named the i3.

Known by its full denomination as the BMW i3 eDrive35L, the sedan has a starting price of around $48,900 (CNY 349,900). It can reach a top speed of 180 kph (112 mph) after accelerating from 0 to 100 kph (0 to 62 mph) in 6.2 seconds. The single motor provides 286 HP (290 PS) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque. According to the Chinese version of the WLTP, the i3 should be able to go 526 km (327 mi) on a single charge of its 70.3-kWh battery.

Naturally, people decided to test it against some of its rivals. A Chinese YouTube channel took a Model 3 Performance, a BYD Seal Atto4, and a Nio ET5 to show how things currently stand. It’s worth noting that the Tesla, the Nio, and the BYD are sporty all-wheel-drive models. These three have one motor on each axle, while the rear-wheel-drive BMW focuses more on delivering a premium, relaxed, zero-tailpipe emission experience by making use of a single power unit.

They start with the quarter mile (400m) drag race in the vehicle's sportiest settings, and it doesn't take long before the BMW is dead last. The Bavarian EV gets turned into a camera car instead because it cannot keep up with any of the other cars. The Tesla Model 3 Performance won by crossing the finish line in 11.97 seconds, while the i3 needed 14.11 seconds. Things might have looked differently if the content creators had added the i4 M50 into this mix instead of the i3.

But the testing of the four units done by Yiche Original at an undisclosed racetrack near China's national capital continues. There are different challenges, and you can watch it all unfold in the video down below. There's even a moose test!

The i3 and the i3 Touring are expected to arrive in the U.S. in 2027.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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