Geodude
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:41 am

BMW i3 Reliability

Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:27 am

Hi All,

So I'm a relatively a new i3 owner (2017 Rex) had the car for about a month now. My experience as been AWESOME owning this car. We go every where around town driving our i3, it is truly a great car. Wanted to get feedback on the reliabilty on the i3. I know it's been around for 6 years or so and more people are starting to get these little cars. I'm curious to know what have you guys experienced with your i3 over the years, and how you feel about owning one. 8-)

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MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Wed Nov 25, 2020 8:01 am

JD Power, the gold-standard for independent ratings (they survey thousands of actual owners) rates the i3
reliability in the low to mid 80s out of 100, the similar ratings that Honda usually gets. eg:

JD Power rates the 2017 i3 at 82/100 for Quality and Reliability
https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2017/bmw/i3

JD Power rates the 2017 Honda CR-V at 76/100 for Quality and Reliability
https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2017/honda/cr-v
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

skeptic
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:52 pm

Generally speaking, EVs should be much more reliable than ICE vehicles. That's not to say there will not be growing pains, recalls, issues and such but less moving parts and less to go wrong. Downside is there are a few things that when they go bad they are catastrophic. I've heard some horror stories about out of warranty AC failures that blow crap through the battery cooling system with a repair cost more than the value of the car (maybe 2014/early 2015 models only????). Then there is the annoyance issue where old and failing 12v batteries are 1) much bigger pita than dropping by your local parts store for a $100 replacement and 5 minutes of work and 2) when they go bad they cause all kinds of weirdness and can render the car inoperative.

Don't get me wrong - I'm completely sold on EVs. So is my wife who decided my i3 is now her i3. :D

frictioncircle
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:14 am

Geodude, congratulations on your 2017 REx!

I'm the original owner of an early-2014-build BEV that has had the following fixed under warranty:

– steering column loose
– A/C not cold
– driver's airbag recall
– climate-control panel flickering LEDs
– left motor mount cracked
– lower control arm cracked (this may have been from a debris impact)
– DCFC charging cable lock failed
– charging door popper failed

Most of these happened relatively early – the last four occurred just after the original warranty expired. BMW very generously covered most of it under goodwill which was greatly appreciated!

Since then it's been smooth sailing (knock on sustainably-sourced eucalyptus wood trim). ;)

A friend with a 2014 REx (and later 2019 REx) had a number of "drivetrain errors" which ended in tows + long waits for parts from Germany. Those did come at the beginning of the respective ownership experiences, though.

BMW has been making the car for so long now – and there's just less to go wrong in an EV (though the REx does add some complexity) – that it's likely that your ownership experience should be uneventful at this point.

As skeptic mentioned, a dying 12V battery can strand you so this might be something to keep on hand in the next year or so – doing a search here for "AUX 18L" should bring up plenty of advice.

Enjoy the new ride!

edit:
Your original post asks "...how you feel about owning one" – to answer the question, I think the i3 is a brilliant design that's much more fun to drive than it should be and still is ahead of its time! I so wish BMW hadn't lost its way after the i-brand launch.

There's so much careful thought that went into making the i3 an ideal city car: short overhangs and insanely-tight turning radius for ease of parking, an ideal balance of commute distance vs. vehicle weight, a proper rethink of packaging that results in generous space for occupants in a small footprint.

I'm glad that BMW continues to make the i3 (I'll probably upgrade to the final model year whenever that is) but I must say that I'm disappointed that BMW i arrived here:
https://www.bmw.com/en/events/nextgen/r ... mw-ix.html

Geodude
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:41 am

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:51 am

Hey Guys... Thanks for the feedback regarding the i3 reliability. I didn't know that the i3 actually got a better score the the Honda CR-V for Quality and Reliability. That is great to know !! I'm really happy with the purchase of my i3. I ending up coding my i3 with the Bimmercode app to customize it even more. - Cheers :D

spartacus68
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:07 am

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:14 am

The i3 especially in REx guise is reliable enough, however don't be taken in by all the claims of reducing your running costs and lowered bills.

First off it's a BMW, so expect high labour rates if you need to go to a main dealer, and not all their staff know their way around these cars. The battery is under warranty for 8 years, but you will see degradation during the winter and a reduction in range, this is normal. Key thing is to ensure battery is topped up, and pre-condition where possible if you have a wall charger.

Things that go wrong, there's a few. Just had an expensive one following a REx issue that turned out to be a fuel pump relay. Of course BMW changed the fuel pump and an O2 sensor first to get to the bottom of it costing me a grand.

Front suspension gaiters are well documented so expect to change every 2 years. I've just changed the front and rear brakes on my wife's REx at 50k miles using genuine parts including sensors. Servicing, then oil (Castrol Edge 5w30), oil filter and pollen filter should be £120 or so if your mechanically minded and can fit yourself. Brake fluid every 2 years.

12v battery coding as mentioned, engine mounts (check yours haven't been recalled), and tyres, goes through them at a rate of knots.

Fuel pressure sensor was replaced on our under warranty, and ours was just recalled at the weekend for some electrical convenience issue.

They are great cars. BMW gave be a 69 plate 116d M Sport as a loaner. Absolute piece of junk. Hesitant auto box, front wheel spin on anything but dry tarmac and a digital display that still looks like it was still in Beta development. Never been happier to get the i3 back.
2015 i3 REx, 60ah, solar orange. Reversing camera, leather interior, sunroof, park assist, professional navigation.

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MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:58 am

don't be taken in by all the claims of reducing your running costs and lowered bills.
I agree, BMW dealer labor costs are high - but so are any dealer's labor charges. You can save a bit of money finding a independent service garage that works on BMWs - usually an independent garage will be 15% to 20% lower. Indy's will be fine for the mechanical work - oil change, brake flush/replacement, etc.

But running costs are definitely lower. Depending on your electricity rates, cost per mile between an i3 and similar size ICE vehicle - the i3 per mile cost will usually be less than 30% of the fuel costs for the ICE car - I used to spend about $80 a month on gasoline, my electric bill went up roughly $20 with the i3. With a REx one oil change a year in the USA, vs the normal two to three oil changes in an ICE vehicler, and if a BEV no oil changes at all,

Tire wear for the sports/performance tires is talked about a lot, but it is no different than sports tires on any car. My son has a VW GTI with sports tires - and got the same mileage on those that I got on mine - they are built for performance not longevity. The all season tires wear better so I switched, and so far I'm getting similar mileage from them as I got from my old Honda SUV's all season tires.
Last edited by MKH on Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

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

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:53 pm

spartacus68 wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:14 am
Front suspension gaiters are well documented so expect to change every 2 years.
I've read reports of these gaiters rotting and tearing prematurely. Ours are still fine after 6 years. Ripped gaiters could allow dirt to cause the strut seal to fail prematurely. However, the cost of replacing the struts and gaiters would likely be less than the cumulative cost of replacing the gaiters every 2 years.
Aloha,
Art

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

spartacus68
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:07 am

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:11 pm

alohart wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:53 pm
I've read reports of these gaiters rotting and tearing prematurely. Ours are still fine after 6 years. Ripped gaiters could allow dirt to cause the strut seal to fail prematurely. However, the cost of replacing the struts and gaiters would likely be less than the cumulative cost of replacing the gaiters every 2 years.
I agree, however I'm doing the job myself using this technique so no silly main dealer rates for work. If your gaiters are still going strong after 6 years, then it's your beautiful climate. We're hunkering down to freezing temperatures tonight in Scotland! :shock:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=17069
2015 i3 REx, 60ah, solar orange. Reversing camera, leather interior, sunroof, park assist, professional navigation.

RexMan
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:18 am

Re: BMW i3 Reliability

Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:28 am

I drive a 2017 Rex here in Ireland and absolutely love the freedom from the Public charging network, passing queues at chargers, broken chargers and not having to worry about greatly increased charge times on DC chargers when the battery is cold and not having to put much thought into finding chargers and having 3 phase 11 Kw charging at most public AC points is a huge plus.

I had the i3 Rex 3 years in November 2020 and I have had the gaiters and shock mounts + door seals replaced under warranty, no Rex issues or nothing major went wrong in all this time. My MK II Prius had shocks replaced, water pumps, though all recalls.

I wish more electrics had the option of a Rex because it would make it as practical as an ICE with all the benefits of pure ev drive and cheap cost to charge at home. If a Model 3 had a Rex it would be fantastic, I know Elon wants to save the world and all that but seriously, a Model 3, S isn't good enough, my Rex I can go anywhere any time, charge if I want on a long drive or not charge at all and use the Rex, or make one stop and not 2 or 3 stops etc, the Rex is just a marvellous piece of engineering which would encourage a lot more people into EV and the Rex could use Bio fuel or in the future burn hydrogen gas directly with no fuel cell needed and this would also greatly reduce the need to roll out a very expensive charging infrastructure that's putting a strain on the grid, generate power on the move, excellent!
2017 i3 Rex 94 Ah.

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