Parking is one of those maneuvers that we all screw up now and then, no matter how experienced we are at driving.

And there's nothing worse than having an audience just as you're trying to squeeze into a space. Even professional athletes can't experience that much pressure, surely?

But what if your car could park itself? If you've bought a 2014 BMW i3 electric car and ticked the right option box, it can.

Michael Thwaite (via Transport Evolved) didn't even know his car could park itself, which gave him the perfect opportunity to test the system, on camera, for the first time.

His reaction, we suspect, pretty much reflects anyone's first reaction when their car pulls off a complicated maneuver without any driver input beyond the first button press.

MORE: 2014 BMW i3 Vs 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class: Luxury Electric Car Comparison

Like most parking assist systems, BMW's will scan the road for a suitably-sized space, and once you stop it will then ask whether you want to complete the maneuver.

To activate the system, you simply operate the turn signal, remove your hands from the steering wheel, then press and hold the PDC (Park Distance Control) button.

The car will automatically select reverse, before completing the entire maneuver itself--steering into the space, turning the car straight again, reversing up to the car behind, then engaging drive and inching forward, straightening the wheels as it does so.

It's fascinating to watch, both inside and out--and provided the system is happy with the size of the space you want to squeeze into, it'll give you inch-perfect parking every time.

MORE: Top Gear's James May To Buy 2014 BMW i3 REx Electric Car

Okay, so it's not as fast as a skilled parker will manage by themselves, but speed is rarely of the essence when parking anyway.

And even if you do have cars lining up behind you, waiting to pass, it's better the car does the job right first time than struggling away, bumping the curb and other cars during several stabs at getting the angle right.

Perhaps more pertinently, it seems entirely fitting of a car like the i3--one of the most futuristic-looking vehicles on the road.


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