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Discussion Starter #1
BMW USA is really pushing the incentives right now. I'm strongly thinking of taking them up on one of their great offers, for a car that should be entirely competitive with the Bolt except for the range.

What do you all think, should I do it?

2015 i3s are leasing out for about $160 per month with less than 3,000 down (see this! http://www.bmwusa.com/bmw/special-offers/lease/2015-BMW-i3). I should be able to get one for even less than that, although I've heard to never put money down on a lease.

How much will the lease payment on a Bolt be shortly after launch? Probably more than the i3. Although I wonder if even better i3 deals will be available in the fall once BMW feels the heat from the Bolt's superior range.

Also, I saw this BMW i3 review earlier from a car thief who was recorded on the stolen car's dashcam and it's cracking me up:

http://jalopnik.com/watch-this-bmw-i3-get-a-glowing-review-from-a-car-thief-1777244114
 

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Somebody on a car buying forum broke down the costs of a BMW i3 lease very well:

http://forum.leasehackr.com/t/2015-bmw-i3-lease-deal-msrp/446/24

Here's a breakdown I wrote elsewhere about how to calculate a lease payment and how my payment was calculated. It probably goes into more detail than you need but it should clear up exactly what the difference is:

The math for a lease is all very simple, regardless of what a sales person may say. In a lease you're simply paying for the depreciation that will occur during the term of the lease plus some interest to the lender for the fact that they are financing the deal for you. So, in order to get a low payment, you want a low interest rate (called money factor in leasing) and you want the purchase price to be low and the residual value (the value of the car as stated by the lender at the end of the lease) to be high. BMW publishes what the residual values are for their cars and with a little asking a dealer will tell you. At 36 months the residual is currently at 53%.. However, if you choose a 30 month lease the residual is 59%. The difference of 6% is simply for the extra six months of leasing. As you will better understand in a moment, BMW is not making the residual attractive at 36 months in that the depreciation component per month for a 36 month lease is costing more than for a 30 month lease. The 30 month lease also is the most attractive because that's the minimum lease term you can get and still qualify for the $2,500 california rebate. Here's a reconstruction of my lease:

Residual is based on MSRP

$54,895 X .59 = $32,388.05

Purchase Price is based on what you can negotiate. In my case it was 14.5% discount:

$54,895 X .855 = $46,935.25

Other Credits depend on what the government is offering and other promotions you MAY qualify for:

$7500 BMW lease cash in lieu of the Federal Tax Credit
$2,500 California Rebate (note in this deal I will put $2,500 cash down but it will be rebated to me by the State later)
$1,000 BMW Loyalty offer since I already have another leased BMW

$11,000 Total Credits

Money Factor is dependent on your credit score and whether you provide a security deposit. If you want a low payment then you will post a security deposit equal to 7 times your monthly payment.

Top Tier Money Factor with 7 Security Deposits is .00083

Putting it all together:

$46,953.22 Purchase Price
($11,000.00) Other Credits detailed above

$35,953.25 Modified capital cost
($32,388.05) Less the residual value

3565.20 This is the total depreciation that you will be paying for over 30 months
Divided by 30 Months

$118.84 Per Month Depreciation

Now to calculate the interest portion of the payment you are going to do some simple math that seems sort of unorthodox. Without going into the why of it , here's how you do it:

Add together the Residual and the modified capital cost and multiply by the money factor:

$35,953.25 Modified Capital Cost
$32,388.05 Residual Value

$68,341.3
X .00083

$56.72 This is the interest portion of your payment

So, your monthly payment in this example is:

$56.72 + $118.84 = $175.56 Plus whatever your sales tax rate is in your county.

Total Drive off is:

$925 BMW leasing Fee
$1400 Refundable Security deposit (For this figure BMW rounds payment up to $200 then multiplies by 7)
$175.56 First months payment
??? Your tax rate on the first month payment
??? Your tax rate on the $11,000 in incentives
$580 Approximate DMV/Junk Fees for registering the car including the $80 doc fee that all dealers in CA charge.
$2,500 This is the downpayment that you need to pay now but will be rebated to you later by the State of California if you qualify (means testing starts in March)

Once the state refunds the down payment, you have a zero down lease at $175 per month.
 

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The 2015's are a steal right now, and I expect that they (and the 2016's as well) will come down a bit more as the 2017's with the 50% range bump get closer to release.
It is a bit of a gamble as it is likely the 15's will go fast at the reduced price. If you decide to buy at the end of the lease, there should be plenty of room to negotiate with that artificially high residual. Probably wind up like the LEAF owners being offered 25% or more off the original residual. Owners who leased and then bought wound up paying less than people that bought outright.

BTW, the i3 is a very nice car. The looks are polarizing (people tend to love it or hate it), and those tall skinny tires produce a few handling quirks, but overall it rides and handles very nicely.

Not sure where you are in CA, but you should get at least 70 miles fairly consistently and not have as much of a winter range penalty (unless you're in Truckee or somewhere else with a real winter).

The i3 is definitely on my radar. When the Fit EV lease is up, we have the option to extend @ $199/month (includes unlimited miles, all maintenance + comp & collision with a $0 deductible). I like the range the Bolt will offer (plus Quick Charge option available), but prices will be at their peak when it is first released.
I also believe that we'll see the LEAF 2.0 released as a 2017 model. I don't think Nissan can gut it out another year with the current offering since sales are down about 40% even with the 30 kWh battery. And it will only get worse as more fresh designs and/or longer range options come to market.
 

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The BMW i3 does look nice but one of the reasons why I never went for it in the first place was because of the limited range. It has a 150 mile range and that's with the range extender at an additional cost.
 

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I was considering it at one point but with the Model 3 to come out soon, i'm waiting to see what that's like in person before making a move on either the Model 3, i3 or Bolt. Fortunately this time around we have some good options, all in the same or similar segments. Is anyone here also giving the Model 3 a look?
 

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I agree - Tesla is definitely the preferred brand - despite the delays and hiccups. I have even flirted with the idea of getting a used Model S 60 - it looks like they can be had for 50K-60K.

https://www.teslamotors.com/models/preowned

The big downside for me is no autopilot capabilities - but the 1st Gen Bolt won't have that either - so...
 

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I agree - Tesla is definitely the preferred brand - despite the delays and hiccups. I have even flirted with the idea of getting a used Model S 60 - it looks like they can be had for 50K-60K.

https://www.teslamotors.com/models/preowned

The big downside for me is no autopilot capabilities - but the 1st Gen Bolt won't have that either - so...
Hmm, I had not even considered a used Model S. Anyone know how the used models are financing? Are any private lenders offering favorable financing rates on used Model S? In any event, I'm more looking for a lease anyway, and I can't lease a used Model S...
 
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