RVD
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:13 pm

Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:12 am

I've been looking at i3 vehicles for the past month or so but will likely wait another 3-6 months for the actual purchase due to price. I have a bunch of questions though.

From my reading it looks like people recommend 2015 instead of 2014 - seems like BMW fixed some things and the car is overall more reliable?

drivetrain issues? is this better on the BEV than REX or anything else to look out for?

I'm interested in a car (BEV or REX) with tera world. The exterior color isn't that important to me but prefer black/grey or white but would like a dark interior. I'm also looking for the tech/driver assistant and parking assistant options.

Is there any way to tell from the car whether it has these options? I think for parking assistant if there is a camera in the back it has it right? How about for tech and driving assistant?

Is there an option that has a bigger screen or is this the same for all cars?

I have done a lot of reading and watched a lot of videos but it's a bit confusing.

I'm ready to pull the trigger pretty much now but would prefer to get one more in the $18k range for BEV and $19k range for REX and the prices in my area are ~$2k higher than that so I'm waiting it out a bit. I'm also expecting that in the next 6 months, we will get many more 2015s comes out of leases so the prices will drop.

I have a couple of friends with this car but they are both leasing and seem to know less about their cars than I do. e.g., I asked which package they have and they weren't sure if they had mega or giga, etc...(boggles my mind a bit but oh well)

For warranty, since BMW has 4 years/50k I'm guessing that whatever car I get will still have some time left. Does BMW allow you to purchase an extended warranty on a private purchase or only dealer purchases (or only CPOs)?

Any other advice?

alohart
Posts: 1230
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:50 am

RVD wrote:drivetrain issues? is this better on the BEV than REX or anything else to look out for?

With their considerably simpler drivetrains, BEV's have had much fewer drivetrain problems than REx's. If the range of a BEV works for you, it would be better to avoid a REx.

RVD wrote:Is there any way to tell from the car whether it has these options?

Enter the car's VIN in one of the BMW VIN decoder Websites to get a full list of all options.

RVD wrote:I think for parking assistant if there is a camera in the back it has it right?

Correct until 2018 models which have standard rear cameras. Ultrasonic sensors are included on the front bumper only for cars with Parking Assist. I don't know whether Parking Assist remains a 2018 option. I have read a reference to a front parking sensor option which might be the 2018 equivalent of Parking Assist.

RVD wrote:How about for tech and driving assistant?

Is there an option that has a bigger screen or is this the same for all cars?

Only cars with the Tech and Driving Assist package have the wider center screen as well as a front camera in the rear view mirror housing (camera is visible through the windshield).

RVD wrote:I have a couple of friends with this car but they are both leasing and seem to know less about their cars than I do. e.g., I asked which package they have and they weren't sure if they had mega or giga, etc...(boggles my mind a bit but oh well)

Until the 2017 model, 19" wheel styles indicate the trim level; i.e., each trim level had a different style 19" wheel. However, 20" wheels were optional on all trim levels.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

theothertom
Posts: 285
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:08 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:33 pm

Here's a link to the VIN decoder I used while shopping for a car. Worked well for me.
https://www.bmwvin.com

RVD
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:13 pm

Re: Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:03 pm

Thanks! That's a lot of good info. I'll be sure to use the vin decoder.

I'll focus my search on a BEV. I don't need the extra range. I originally thought i'd get a REX just in case even though I plan to never use the motor but if the drivetrain and other issues are less prevalent on the BEV then the BEV it is.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 3889
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:25 am

The larger screen comes with the professional nav, which is part of a package as sold in the USA.

Many, not all, of the glitches in the early vehicles were fixed by software updates. There were a couple of hardware issues, but those should all have been taken care of, or if not, should be before resold at no cost to the new owner.

The BEV does not require much of any service. When you add the REx, you have some of the normal things of any ICE such as oil and filter changes, spark plugs, muffler, coolant and radiator along with a gas tank.

About the only servicing required on the BEV is biannual brake fluid flush, cabin air filter (those are the same on the REx), and just a check of the running gear for wear or alignment.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

sipabit
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:01 am

Re: Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:46 am

That's a lot of questions. Let's try to hit them all up. Lots of questions means you're serious and excited about this. That's a wonderful sign.

RVD wrote:I've been looking at i3 vehicles for the past month or so but will likely wait another 3-6 months for the actual purchase due to price. I have a bunch of questions though.

From my reading it looks like people recommend 2015 instead of 2014 - seems like BMW fixed some things and the car is overall more reliable?
2014 was the first year in the US. You probably don't want that. The DC charging was also an option. If you go for the 2014 and need that, make sure you look for it by opening the electric charger flap at the back of the car and look for the horizontal shaped plug beneath the regular Level 2 one.

drivetrain issues? is this better on the BEV than REX or anything else to look out for?

As far as maintenance goes, there's a lot less on the BEV. If you can handle it with your expectations of range and use of the car and a BEV works, do it. The REX is great as training wheels for transitioning from an ICE car to an EV, but along with it comes spark plugs and oil changes. There might be other stuff too.

I'm interested in a car (BEV or REX) with tera world. The exterior color isn't that important to me but prefer black/grey or white but would like a dark interior. I'm also looking for the tech/driver assistant and parking assistant options.
Dark interior is only available in Tera World as you mentioned. Note that it's not black though. It's dark brown and will look different in different lighting. I wish it was black, but it's not. The rim style shows you what the interior looks like. You might have noticed that all the Tera world ones have the same wheels.

Is there any way to tell from the car whether it has these options? I think for parking assistant if there is a camera in the back it has it right? How about for tech and driving assistant?
Yes! Smart of you to ask. The steering wheel will have buttons on the left side showing it has the Drivers Assistance package. You'll also notice that there's a separate button under the emergency button in the middle of the dash. If it's an oversized emergency button by itself, there's no Driver's Assistance package. If there's a green circle under it, then it does have it. Another giveaway is the sensor on the glass where the rear view mirror is mounted. There's a camera there for the Driver's Assistance package.

The Parking Assistance package will have a button rear of the comfort/eco pro mode button. You'll also see sensors the size of nickels on the front/rear of the car.


Is there an option that has a bigger screen or is this the same for all cars?
That's the Navigation from the Technology Package, but in some areas and instances, you can get the larger screen w/o the actual Technology Package.

I have done a lot of reading and watched a lot of videos but it's a bit confusing.

I'm ready to pull the trigger pretty much now but would prefer to get one more in the $18k range for BEV and $19k range for REX and the prices in my area are ~$2k higher than that so I'm waiting it out a bit. I'm also expecting that in the next 6 months, we will get many more 2015s comes out of leases so the prices will drop.
I wouldn't count on that. The 2015 prices now from the influx of lease returns is overwhelming the market which is creating this deterioration in price for used i3's. When the Tesla finally gets released with the base model and everyone who was looking to get it with the credit find out that credits have run out, they wont' get it and will look elsewhere. At that point, you'll have competition for the i3. For the time being all the EV buyers are on hold b/c they're waiting for the Tesla model 3. If you can snatch yours before these wannabe would-be buyers realize they're not actually getting it, then you'll be okay. Disclaimer: I used to be one of those guys.

The price is also temporarily reduced b/c most of the public doesn't realize they don't need a high range EV. For the time being, everyone wants more range. The bigger the better. But these people are the ones that only got interested in EV's because of Tesla and aren't really thinking much about the details. Bigger battery means more weight to carry around. It also means it takes longer to charge. Not all houses can be equipped to charge a Tesla as quick as it was designed for. It has a lot of electricity demands compared to other EV's available now.

A lot of demand (which is pretty nutty) of EV vehicles are from wannabe buyers who only want to charge the EV only as often as they fill up their gas tank on their gas car. When they realize and accept that charging an EV daily is normal practice and isn't anything to frown upon, people will start to consider that maybe they don't need a 200mi range car. Most people aren't going to drive even 1/4 of that on a daily basis.

When all these realizations happen, you'll get more competition for a used i3. I don't think it'll happen all at once though so you got that going for you. If you wait 2-3 months, don't wait much longer than that.


I have a couple of friends with this car but they are both leasing and seem to know less about their cars than I do. e.g., I asked which package they have and they weren't sure if they had mega or giga, etc...(boggles my mind a bit but oh well)
That's pretty funny that they don't know what car they got. If you lease, don't ever ever intend on buying it at the end of the lease. If you did that, you'd pretty much be buying full price of a car in the future for a car that has deteriorated in price. You wouldn't get to realize the deteriorated price. You're better off leasing, returning the car and buying a used one or even the same one on a separate contract.

The leasing phase is over. People will soon build confidence in EV's that they didn't have before (reason for leasing). And we'll finally reach the "ideal" range EV. For the time being, any EV that has a range of under 100mi is seen as junk and priced accordingly. If you realize that's actually the range that works for you, take it while it's priced that way.


For warranty, since BMW has 4 years/50k I'm guessing that whatever car I get will still have some time left. Does BMW allow you to purchase an extended warranty on a private purchase or only dealer purchases (or only CPOs)?
That is very true. The best value is now. If you wait too long, the prices on the 2014's will surely drop, but that won't matter to you b/c you won't get it anyway. What matters to you is that those buyers will turn into 2015 buyers. Again more competition.

Any other advice?

If you're in the United States, California in particular, look for something in the 20-20k mi range used, 2015 REX for that $18-19k budget you spoke about. You wont' get many or any packages being that'll cost you another $1-2k on a REX. The value are will be in the $20-21 for someone who wants to keep the car longer term. Dirt cheap is the $15-16k range ones and those are primarily 2014 ones. $18-19k is actually a very realistic budget for a 2015, but you'll be looking at more miles on the car and fewer packages. Not a bad thing, just something you should be aware of.
A fanatic of all things electric. Ridables like electric ice chests and stand up scooters I adore. Drones like DJI, I root for. I'm a fan of both, but nothing beats my love for my 2016 i3 Rex with Deka World. Shhh, don't tell my wife.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 3889
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Buying a used i3 - advice needed?

Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:10 pm

Something that will definitely affect your lease verses buy decision depending on where you live is the availability of various incentives. The federal one you may not be able to fully appreciate, depending on your income and tax burden, but the rebates aren't tied to income, and some states offer some really significant ones in addition to the utility company. Then, again depending on where you live, there are some useful perks such as access to HOV lanes, discounted taxes and registration and similar things. If you live in an area with off-peak power, your cost to recharge can be significantly decreased over paying full scale.

Many of those incentives are not available on a used vehicle, but some are, such as access to an HOV lane (that's not universal, so don't assume!).
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

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