The i3 was also on display and BMW rented out the parking lot across from the LA Convention Center bringing in a small fleet of i3's for test drives. I went to test drive the car only to be told they were having a private event and only offering test drives for those invited to the event. Odd, considering I scheduled my test drive in advance and was wearing my press credentials but so be it. I did not give up that easily and entered the private event and started taking photos and nobody said a thing.
I also waited in line for a test drive with the people attending the private event but was not able to get away with sneaking in. Oh well, I jumped in an i3 anyway and found it to be surprisingly comfortable. The interior takes a very minimalist design reminiscent of Apple in some ways but it certainly works. Even the rear leg space was decent for what really is a very compact car. Trunk space on the other hand suffers but the i3 is comfortable at least up front.
The cars stood out on the streets of LA and gathered crowds. They truly look like nothing else on the road. That said, it is clear why the i3's were scheduled for tests in downtown LA. This is a city car designed for tight city streets. Test driving the cars in downtown rush hour traffic really proves nothing about the driving experience. Maybe that was the whole point? A comfy car to get you around big cities. Not a car that is the Ultimate Driving Machine or why you would pick tightly packed downtown LA streets for a test drive with no real way to accelerate or test braking and handling? This isn't a vehicle for a tight mountain road to have fun in.
BMW 'i' is here to stay. Whether the experiment will work out is anybody's guess but they definitely are hitting it off well with the California eco-hippie community. Whether that trendy community is enough to sustain sales and actually make the 'i' project possible is something BMW themselves probably does not even know.