Myself and my partner were kindly invited by the team at the Leicester Marriott Hotel to come along to experience their hotel and to also test drive an electric car, the BMW i3 (more on that later!) last weekend, perfect timing as we were celebrating our first year together as a couple the same weekend too. As somebody who doesn't possess a driving licence it was the perfect opportunity to get my partner involved with a blogging opportunity I knew he would run for. 


The hotel itself is located within perfect distance from the M1, providing a quiet and convenient location perfect for the business and leisure people type in a four-star hotel. Both of us were welcomed by friendly and approachable staff who ensured our stay was comfortable and as of a first-class service, leaving us both feeling slightly overwhelmed and spoilt. Our room was spacious, air-conditioned and comfortable complete with internet speed perfect for my blogging self to catch up on social media and emails with ease. On site there is also a fully equipped gym, heated swimming pool, steam room or sauna available at your wish, I definitely wish I hadn't forgot my kit and indulged into some me time during my stay. After settling into our room and indulging in the melted chocolate and strawberries left for us by the team we decided to head down to meet the marketing manager before heading into their on site restaurant, Mixx for dinner. The Mixx Restaurant hosts international cuisine, in particular this evening it was an all you can eat Chinese buffet or something from their La Carte menu that was available to us. Deciding to go for the buffet we enjoyed sampling a variety of the different dishes the buffet had to offer, all prepared to absolute perfection by the chefs. I found myself trying new dishes that I wouldn't usually attempt to try, and thoroughly enjoying them too. We were well looked after and catered for by their restaurant team, we can’t thank them enough for their kindness and ability to make us feel welcome at the hotel for the duration of our stay. We decided to watch the Rugby World Cup in their bar located opposite the restaurant before heading off for some well needed zzzz’s.
Waking up in the marshmallow of a bed we decided to head down to breakfast to indulge in all the restaurant had to offer with it’s breakfast buffet before heading to BMW’s dealership a stone throw away to test out the BMW i3. I will now allow my partner to continue into what it was like to drive an ELECTRIC CAR!







It is important to acknowledge here that the Leicester Marriott Hotel has recently installed two new points to it's four star property, created to keep electric vehicles of the future on the road for a longer duration and already holding a Green Tourism Gold Award we was keen to make full use of the facilities whilst testing out the electric vehicle ourselves.  

‘I’ll just start out by saying how much of a joy this car is to drive, but more on that at the end and I found out so much interesting information about the model before taking it for a spin.  

When we first saw the car I was struck by how it looks, this car looks like it’s popped right out of a futuristic sci-fi comic book, sans the hover jets (a man can dream), it is a phenomenal looking car. I’m a design engineer by day and I was blown away by how good such a little car could look, sleek and sharp this car looks like it can move, and move well. Speaking of it being a little car, when I first saw pictures of it I assumed it to be around the size of a 4x4 as it has a similar shape, but in person it’s a lot smaller than it appears (great for parking), but it gives the impression of size, it stands out and looks big.

When I first got into the driver seat I was a little over-whelmed by the screens and buttons and wasn’t really sure where I should even be looking to start the car (luckily one of the reps came out to show us how to start the car or we might have spent the day sitting in the dealership car park), but once you get to grips with everything you quickly realise that more buttons means more toys. (Although throughout the day driving the car I think I only had to press like 4 buttons in total).

Despite the array of buttons and switches the car was actually pretty simple to operate and once you knew where everything was it was quite intuitive (with a few minor exceptions).

Now, this being an electric car I will admit that I spent the first 20 minutes or so grasping for a gear stick that didn’t exist and pressing my foot onto an imaginary clutch, there may have also been a few juddering stops as I lifted my foot from the accelerator to coast to a stop, but these differences were quickly adjusted to and I can say honestly that after that I have never had a smoother drive. The accelerator release breaking means that, unless you come flying into a junction, you never have to touch the break. I think I maybe put my foot on the break 5 times the entire day driving (and a couple of those were on hills to stop myself rolling back), this is especially a blessing when stuck in slow moving traffic, there’s no breaking, no changing gears, just a gradual pressure then a gradual release and repeat, so much more enjoyable.









Before getting the car I had been a little worried about how accurate the range predictions would be (over 60 miles on full charge) and when we left the dealership in Leicester at around 11:00am the dash was reading a predicted 60 miles travel exactly. By the time we got back to the Marriott just after 17:00pm it was predicting another 63 miles of travel.

That’s right, with careful driving I had actually extended my drivable range over the course of 5 or so hours.

Now obviously this wasn’t 5 hours of continuous driving, we took the car from the dealership into Leicester Highcross (as they have charging points in their car park), then to the National Space Centre then back to the Marriott hotel. Still that was an hour or 2 driving in stop/ start traffic and my range was longer than when I set out, I find that very impressive.

I also got to play with some of the safety and parking features, parking sensors, rear view camera, guide-line overlays. These all activated automatically and made parking so much easier, it was a serious pain going back to a car that didn’t use these afterwards…

The final thing I’ll mention was the feature that impressed me the most, and the one I couldn’t figure out how to operate on my own. When the rep took us to the car he mentioned that the i3 made use of one of BMW’s new automated parallel parking features, I couldn’t wait to try this but for the life of me could not figure out how to operate it.

Turns out the reason for this is because if you want to use it the only thing you need to do is tell the car you want to park, it does the rest. The  car will take over all control, steering, acceleration and braking and will slot itself into the gap with ease. Unfortunately what you won’t hear in the video is my exclamation of shock and surprise after the car parks better and faster than I could.

Over all this is a fantastic car, the only thing that lets it down in my opinion is getting in charged, unless you have a secure area at home it would be difficult to charge it overnight and there are not as many charging spots out and about as there could be. We also found that we didn’t have the correct tools to charge it at the point based at the Leicester Marriott Hotel. However I can see this changing very rapidly and even then so long as you have access to one charging spot or if you can get a charging point installed at home then it’s a definite must for anyone who spends their driving in and around the city centre wherever you are… 

Although I’d maybe recommend something else if you’re commuting 60-70 miles in a day!

We absolutely loved the opportunity to experience something different for this blog and hope that we’ll take up an opportunity to work alongside the Leicester Marriott Hotel in the future.

thanks for reading,




*Leicester Marriott Hotel and the BMW Leicester dealership provided me with this opportunity free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I have not been asked to mention any of the comments or opinions in the above text nor have I been paid to write this post. All views and photos are my own and have not been endorsed in any way by the company or other users of the product.