BMW i3 review: The 7 Series coupe is a more refined, refined car than the M3

The electric Pininfarina Battista costs a whopping $2 million. Here’s what that gets you… The new BMW 740i, as shown As I predicted in the March issue, BMW’s first electric car under its current…

BMW i3 review: The 7 Series coupe is a more refined, refined car than the M3

The electric Pininfarina Battista costs a whopping $2 million. Here’s what that gets you…

The new BMW 740i, as shown

As I predicted in the March issue, BMW’s first electric car under its current guise, the i3, is due for launch in mid-June. I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the car, as well as the iX3 and i Visioneering cars, in upcoming magazines.

But it was BMW’s decision to make the 6 Series coupe electric that has inspired the most interest in the new i Series, and that makes this review of the new BMW i3 particularly interesting. Why? Because this electric 740i is more like what you would expect if Ferrari had created a sedan, rather than an SUV, by borrowing a concept that had been used on a previous car.

In most respects, the 7 Series coupe is a typical BMW. It gets its name from the number of cylinders it has, and the carbon-fiber roof is more akin to that of the 7-Series sedan than of the larger but still much less luxurious and practical M3. But the design is decidedly different. The coupe’s doors open to the rear, and a rear-hinged door opening enables easy access to the trunk. The roof is open and extends all the way to the back, creating a sleek, nearly bulletproof surface—and the roofline is even more low over the rear doors.

The 740i’s carbon-fiber roof is the most striking feature

The BMW i3’s exterior is similar, but its design is, in many respects, more refined and less striking. Its carbon fiber covers nearly every surface, and for most owners, it will always have a distinctive look that makes the car stand out from lesser BMWs—at least that’s how it’s looked in the photos I’ve seen. (I suspect that the BMW i3 coupe might actually look dull

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