But the i3 with Range Extender (REX) surprised me, not just with its stylish compact design but also its driving range and power.
So my hubby and I loaded our 3-year-old daughter into the back seat and took a road trip to Nigel, which is almost 60 kilometres away from Johannesburg.
Although BMW has billed this car as the ultimate urban runaround, I found that it handled the freeway extremely well and in true Beemer fashion.
The weirdest thing about driving this car is the silence; the 125 kilowatt electrical engine doesn't make a sound. It's fed by a battery pack, which when fully charged can travel 113 kilometres. And if you run out of battery, no stress - the two cylinder petrol engine kicks in and acts a generator for the battery, guaranteeing your trip home.
Charging the i3 is as easy as plugging your phone into a socket. You can use the home charge, which takes about 8 hours to fully charge, or you can invest an extra R25,000 for the fast charge unit which they can install at your home.
The fast charge can power up your car to 80% in less than an hour and there are also a handful of dealerships with charging stations. I have a prepaid system at home and I found that my geyser drained power at twice the rate compared to the car.
BMW describes the design of the car as daring and futuristic. The interior has a clean modern look. The elevated seating and the large windows give it a very spacious, airy feeling. And why can't every car have suicide doors? They make a car feel edgy and spacious.
In the seven days I had the car, I made the 32-kilometre commute to and from work twice a day and endured 3 days of load-shedding in between.
Although there is clearly no charging infrastructure to speak of, I found that this car can handle our conditions, but that's also because I had the petrol engine as a back-up plan.
The starting price of an i3 REX is R595,000 while the base model without the range extender begins at R500,000; so it's not cheap. But this cleverly designed car epitomises technological innovation, whilst driving like an authentic BMW.