Doug DeMuro knows a lot about cars. He writes for several well-respected auto blogs, he runs an auction website for other enthusiasts, and his car-focused YouTube channel has over four million subscribers.
DeMuro recently released a new video, listing the worst cars he has ever reviewed, and shockingly, first place went to a
The Isetta was designed by Italian firm Iso SpA, and due to its unique shape, it caused a sensation when it was introduced to the motoring press in 1953. BMW bought the rights a year later, and built an initial 1,000 units for sale across Europe.
At the time, many European car makers were releasing small city cars, but the Isetta’s tiny frame took the concept a step further. DeMuro is not a fan, claiming "people look at you and they point and laugh because it’s so stupid."
He has a point. The Isetta is a special type of microcar, known as a bubble car due to its round shape. Many people mistake it for a three-wheeler, because the rear wheels are so close together. It looks like one of those plastic, foot-powered, dome-shaped cars you can buy for a toddler, and it moves at a similar pace.
The Isetta takes over 30 seconds to reach 31 mph, has a top speed of just 47 mph, and the fuel tank only holds 13 litres (3.4 US gal). This low speed and fuel capacity is probably just as well though, because as DeMuro explains, "any accident and you’re gonna be dead!"
To access the Isetta, you climb in through the front, by essentially lifting up the whole windshield. This means you could be stuck if you park facing a wall because there is no reverse gear.
As well as being "horribly small and underpowered and ridiculous," DeMuro claims "driving it was a truly terrible experience." His opinion was no doubt colored by the fact that the car broke down during his review, and had to be towed back to the dealership.
Small profit margins and poor sales meant that BMW was in real danger of collapse by the late ‘50s. In response, the company abandoned the microcar concept, and began producing sport-oriented cars instead.
By the late ‘60s, BMW had established a reputation for its coupe and luxury sedan models, and would go from strength to strength in following decades. Today, BMW is an industry-leader when it comes to blending performance with style, and hopes to secure its future with the
Truthfully, the Isetta is only remembered because of how successful BMW became afterwards. In DeMuro’s own words, "I’ve driven a lot of cars. I’ve driven some bad cars. But the BMW Isetta is the worst:"
While it may be the "worst car" he has ever reviewed, owners should take some pride in its uniqueness. If you want one, a refurbished BMW Isetta costs upwards of $55,000, but beware, their street legality is up for debate, and you might struggle to get
"Alex Healey is an insurance writer specializing in car insurance and personal finance. Alex’s mission is to create informative, just-in-time content for car owners and buyers. Alex has written articles for Jerry on topics ranging from hybrid vehicle rankings to used car costs. Before joining Jerry, Alex worked as a digital content specialist and editor for brands including InsuranceHotline.com, Rates.ca, and Booking.com. When not writing for Jerry, Alex continues to build his freelance digital content portfolio in the insurance and automotive industries. "