Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Subscribe
Advertisement

Driving

What is it like to drive?

You don’t so much drive an Ami as much as occupy it for a period of time. It’s not complicated, and to be honest, there’s not much in the way of dynamism to get acquainted with.

Just press one of the three buttons (park, neutral, drive) on the driver’s seat base and then press either the ‘stop’ or ‘go’ pedals. There is acceleration, just not much of it, and not for very long.

Advertisement - Page continues below

A top speed of 28mph is an insult to the words ‘top’ and ‘speed’, but given the average inner-city commuting speed - according to government statistics - is 11.4mph, this really isn’t a problem. Meanwhile the brakes work and the suspension… exists. That’s pretty much it.

The ride’s not comfy, then?

If you decide to attack a speed hump at full tilt, you’ll quickly find the damping is at best rudimentary, the hard seat pad not kind to your spine. Approach cobblestones like you would a hungry lion.

There are no modes, sporting or otherwise. The handling is pretty much the same, in that the steering is so slow that getting the Ami to behave anything other than utterly predictably simply isn’t worth the effort.

Those 155-section tyres don’t so much provide absolute grip as light friction, so the worst that’ll happen is graceful understeer. Or so we thought. A while ago someone managed to roll one of these in Monaco (Google it). So it’s not entirely idiot proof…

Advertisement - Page continues below

And yet you claim that it’s fun…

It really is. Once you accept that the Ami is to driving what Ken Loach is to children’s television, there’s amusement to be had. No, you can’t lane-split like you would on a bike or scooter, but the Ami can squeeze into gaps that a proper car simply couldn’t, park in places that aren’t places. And when you do, people don’t hate you. It’s not fun to drive, just fun to use. The novelty never wears off.

Except when the range runs out… after 47 miles.

What is quite interesting is that although the Ami has a limited range from that 5.5kWh battery, it will pretty much do what it says it will do in terms of miles - unlike a lot of ‘proper’ electric cars. And when you do the maths, 8.55mi/kWh is twice the efficiency you get from most half-decent EVs as well.

Got a 10-mile cross-London commute? Easy. Even if it takes you a couple of hours, you’ll still only use 10-12 miles of range. And you’ll be feeling even more smug when you’ve fully topped up for less than £2. Don’t believe us? The logic is irrefutable.

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe