Yes, it’s expensive for a city runabout. Yes, that makes it out of reach of most people. But, the i3 represents a step forward. It’s not just that it’s not a Prius, but that electric powered cars are still maturing and the technology developed for products like the i3 will benefit all of us as the years go by.
Glenn Butler, Wheels Editor, called the i3 “courageous and convincing,” before adding: “Other brands surely possess the know-how to have created something equally visionary. BMW had the bravery.
“This innovative and compact electric car combines expressive design, impressive engineering, exceptional efficiency and persuasive practicality with a good deal of driver appeal.”
The BMW i3 is the first electric car to win the Wheels COTY and the first BMW to claim the honour.
Also in the top five finalists were the Mazda 2, the Mercedes-Benz C Class, the Peugeot 308 and fellow electric car the Tesla Model S.
BMW i3 crowned 2014 Wheels Car of the Year
- BMW i3 is the first ever electric vehicle to win the award
- First time a BMW has claimed Wheelsâ€™ Car of the Year
- BMW i3 recognised for revolutionary concept, dynamics and construction
- Reaffirms BMWâ€™s status as the vanguard of automotive innovation
- Wheels Car of the Year is the worldâ€™s longest continually running automotive award, now in its 52nd year
- Awarded by a panel of seven automotive experts boasting over 150-years experience in automotive journalism, design and engineering
- All significant new models launched in a calendar year are eligible for the prize
January 22 2015 â€“ The BMW i3 has overcome a host of high-ranking challengers to be crowned the 2014 Wheels Car of the Year in a gala ceremony held in The Carousel in Albert Park, Melbourne last night.
The first ever electric vehicle to claim Australiaâ€™s most coveted motoring prize, the BMW i3 was recognised for its revolutionary concept, dynamics and construction and further consolidates the marqueâ€™s reputation as the worldâ€™s most sustainable automotive manufacturer.
The BMW i3â€™s triumph marks the first time the Bavarian institution has claimed the revered prize.
Wheels Magazineâ€™s Editor, Glenn Butler, said the BMW i3 “is a car both courageous and convincing. Other brands surely possess the know-how to have created something equally visionary. BMW had the bravery.
“This innovative and compact electric car combines expressive design, impressive engineering, exceptional efficiency and persuasive practicality with a good deal of driver appeal.
“For its far-sighted clarity of vision and unswerving execution, the i3 is Wheels Car of the Year 2014.â€
Describing the award as iconic in the industry, BMW Group Australia Managing Director Marc Werner thanked Wheels for recognising the BMW i3 as a game changer.
â€œThe BMW i3 has won some high profile international awards since its launch, but the Wheels Car of the Year prize is clearly at the top of the tree. It stands out for being Australiaâ€™s top vehicle award, and also the longest continuously running award in the world,â€ Werner said.
â€œWheels Car of the Year is renowned for including rigorous and comprehensive testing by Australiaâ€™s toughest automotive journalists. Itâ€™s proof of a vehicleâ€™s performance against the five selected award criteria â€“ function, technology, efficiency, safety and value.
Werner added: â€œAnd because we know just how tough the testing is, weâ€™re absolutely thrilled, excited and delighted that the BMW i3 is Wheelsâ€™ Car of the Year â€“ and the first-ever electric vehicle to claim this coveted award.
â€œI know that every single member of the BMW family will feel the same, and will join me in thanking the judges, the editor and the publisher.â€
The worldâ€™s first purpose-designed premium electric car, the BMW i3 represents the future of urban mobility, placing sustainability, inspiring design and dynamic driving at the forefront of its mission, capable of travelling between 160km and 200km on a single charge.
Defining premium for the next generation, the BMW i3 reaffirms the automakerâ€™s place at the vanguard of industry innovation, embodying the brandâ€™s holistic approach to sustainability. Developed at BMW AGâ€™s carbon neutral Leipzig facility, the BMW i3 is designed to be as sustainable as possible from the factory to the road, encompassing its entire life until disposal.
Heralding the arrival of a new paradigm for the car industry, the BMW i3â€™s carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell is a world first for a volume-production vehicle, with the material produced at a US plant drawing upon regenerative hydro-electric power.
While the lightweight technology aids efficiency, the use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic also enables new design possibilities, generating more interior space and complex, aerodynamically optimised forms.
The exclusive use of sustainable materials characterises the BMW i3â€™s interior, harnessing innovative materials, including fibres from the Kenaf plant, naturally tanned leather from south-German cattle hides as well as open-pored eucalyptus wood, 100 per cent certified as the product of responsible forestry.
Boasting an aluminium drive platform, and advanced, efficient BMW eDrive electric powertrain, the BMW i3 delivers excellent driving dynamics and a typical range of between 160 to 200 km on one charge.
About Wheels Magazine Car of the Year
Established in 1953, Wheels is Australiaâ€™s most revered and authoritative car publication, presenting 164 glossy pages of articles and photography from some of Australia’s, and the worldâ€™s best journalists.
Awarded by a panel of seven automotive experts boasting over 150-years experience in automotive journalism, design and engineering, the Wheels Car of the Year is the worldâ€™s longest continually running automotive award, and is now in its 52nd year.
All significant new models launched in a calendar year are eligible for the prize, with the best shortlisted for seven days of gruelling testing by the nationâ€™s toughest motoring judges, including Wheels editor Glenn Butler.