If you ever find yourself in a BMW i3 learn from my mistake and don’t suddenly turn it off while you’re in the middle of a busy street. Now, I’m not an idiot – okay, I probably am but try and remember that you’re on my side here – I didn’t know I was turning it off. Let me spin you the story:
BMW was kind enough to host a driving event for their new i3 in the heart of Las Vegas recently. Unlike most of the journosaurs who were assembled, the DrivingScene crew chose to forgo the cargo shorts and leather sandals look. Perhaps that’s why our careers have suffered so unjustly. We ignored veiled attempts at small talk from people named Daren, quickly grabbed the key fob for a sunburst orange tester, and jumped in. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the i3 (you can read our full i3 review on our sister site FactoryTwoFour) but that doesn’t mean that we almost didn’t break it. In fact, whenever the team here enjoys a new vehicle it usually winds up broken.
Within the first two miles of the driving loop BMW had put us on, I had already started pushing as many buttons in the cabin as I possibly could with these fat sausage fingers. Radio, check. Climate control, check. Storage compartments, check. Stop/Start? Now that’s got to go. I hate stop/start tech, especially on a limited test drive. Now, the smarter of you will quickly whisper confusingly to your screen, “but electric cars don’t need stop/start…” Congrats, you’re smart! Smarter than me! In my defense, I jump in and out of so many new test cars that they all kind of blend together.
Regardless, I’m in the middle of traffic a few streets over from the strip and I jab the Start/Stop labelled button so violently that you’d be sure it insulted my lineage. IMMEDIATELY the i3 starts shuttering and jolting forward, all while making the wost possible combination of groan and whine you can imagine. After a few seconds of riding a bucking BMW, I’m stopped dead in the middle of the street with a line of cars piling up behind me. HIT THE BUTTON AGAIN screams through my brain milliseconds after I realize the button is the exact same one the BMW handler had told me to press to start the car when we first got in. I told you, you’re smarter than me.
Now, I’m from LA so as the cars stack up behind me I’m mentally preparing to ignore the symphony of horns that should soon begin blaring at me. And to the credit of Las Vegas residents, not a single horn was sounded that day. Perhaps they knew I already felt and knew I was/am a complete ass.
Ass or not, the Start/Stop button isn’t working and I’m loosing my mind. Park! The i3 needs to be back in Park before I can turn it on! Okay, so now the challenge is to remember where the hell the gear selector is. I grabbed the turkey leg-like selector jutting out of the steering column and selected Park by basically giving a repeated thumbs-up to the silver tab that serves as the button for such things. In Park, I again try the Stop/Start button and wait what feels like 30 years for the startup sequence of lights and sounds to complete before I again flick the selector towards me now and get this damn tub into Drive.
Still no honks. Miraculous. Perhaps I’m all wrong about Vegas and it’s actually the friendliest place on earth… I’m under motion now and the trail of tears I have produced is dissolving as we all move forward. I swear to you when I looked in my rearview mirror I saw a smile on the lady behind me. And not a “oh good” smile, no it was definitely a “I think I’m following a mentally disabled person, perhaps I should give him a wide berth” smile.
If you don’t want to see that smile for yourself, learn from me. Leave the Stop/Start button alone while you’re driving. And who says this site isn’t educational?