Last week BMW held a press event for the UK launch of the i3 and allowed journalists the opportunity to have an extended test drive of an i3. However that's not all they let them do. BMW also arraigned to have the journalists drag race an M3 that was driven by one of BMW's professional drivers.
The first day of the event the i3 was beating the M3 to 60 mph which took a lot of people by surprise. While the i3 is a very quick car, it isn't M3-quick so some of the journalists were scratching their heads a bit. However it was lightly raining that day and while the M3 was struggling to get traction, the i3 with its thin tires was jumping off the line much quicker and holding off the late charge of the M3. When one journalist questioned if the M3 driver was holding back, BMW let him drive the M3 himself in another race and he promptly lost to the i3 also.
The next day was a little different with dry pavement as seen in the above video. The i3 still jumps off the line quicker, but the massive engine of the M3 is too much for the i3 and halfway through the race to 60 mph you can see it gaining and then easily passing the i3 before they hit the goal of 60 mph.
I've enjoyed the instant torque that my EV's have offered and frequently comment on how that is one of the advantages electric vehicles have over internal combustion engine cars. It really helps to make the EV driving experience better in my opinion. However I can't help but wonder if the M3 didn't have traction control working or if it had some other handicap that we weren't told about. The i3 is quick and I promise it will be a blast to drive, but the M3 is built for one thing- speed, and goes 0-60 in about 4.8 seconds compared to the i3's 7 seconds. It's hard to see how this race was as close as it appears. Still - this is exactly the kind of stuff I want to see from BMW. The i3 is a competent performer as well as an efficient EV built with a focus on sustainable manufacturing and materials. Sustainable is great, but it's the fun stuff like this that gets people excited about the car and what will ultimately sell them!