In-depth reviews

BMW i3 hatchback - Reliability & safety

BMW i3 reliability should be rock-solid as long as the batteries hold up

Carbuyer Rating

3.9 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.4 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

4.5 out of 5

Owning a BMW i3 should be hassle-free. Although the four-star Euro NCAP safety rating the car was given may seem slightly off the pace, passenger protection is strong.

BMW i3 reliability

Electric cars generally have a good reputation for reliability because there are fewer moving parts to go wrong and maintain. Too few i3 owners participated in our 2020 Driver Power satisfaction survey for the car to be individually featured, and BMW’s performance as a brand has slipped of late, coming 27th out of 30 manufacturers in the survey with 20.4% of owners reporting a fault in the first year.

However, owners rated their cars’ on-board technology – including infotainment and connectivity – highly, and were quick to praise BMW’s engines and gearboxes, as well as ride and handling. The biggest disappointment was a low rating for overall running costs. In theory, the i3 should perform well here, although owners say that high maintenance costs are a BMW failing.

Safety

Given the i3's hi-tech design, it comes as a surprise that it was only awarded four stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. However, drilling down into the individual category scores reveal a car that does a pretty good job of protecting its occupants. The i3 scored 86% for adult occupant protection and 81% for in the child occupant category. While these scores are decent, a 57% pedestrian protection result affected the i3’s overall star rating.

All i3s come with six airbags, electronic stability control and a seatbelt reminder buzzer as standard. For around £800, the optional Driver Assistant Plus package adds active cruise control, a forward collision warning, preventative pedestrian protection, a lane departure warning, speed limit information, traffic jam assist and a route ahead assistant.

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