The BMW i3 has been the best-selling electric car in the premium compact segment with over 8,000 units sold in the UK since its launch. BMW now seeks to elevate the success story with a major refresh, new tech and a sportier variant in the new i3s.
Due for its world premier at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September, it is expected to be debuted in the global market by November. This also follows after BMW’s latest announcement to offer electrified variants for BMW and MINI models. Both the i3 and i3s will draw power from its lithium-ion-high-voltage 33kWh battery with a range-extender engine available as an option. The battery is expected to provide a range of 180-186 miles based on NEDC cycle and up to 125 miles in everyday use.
A maximum output of 170 hp with peak torque at 250 Nm is delivered via a single-speed automatic transmission with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h). The i3 will come with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and a unique wheel speed limiter that ensures stability under acceleration and overrun with strong regenerative braking.
In the i3s, output is at 184 hp and 270 Nm of torque. The i3s also boast sports suspension and springs, dampers and anti-roll bars to go with its performance. It sits on 20-inch light-alloy wheels which are 20mm wider than before. Sports mode is available with the Driving Experience Control switch, resulting in more responsive throttle and steering. The i3s gets from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds with top speed of 99 mph (160 km/h) and mileage returns of 174 miles on the NEDC cycle and up to 125 miles in daily use.
A 38hp two-cylinder range extender petrol engine is available as an option for both the new BMW i3 and the new BMW i3s. The engine drives a generator that produces power as required while driving to maintain a constant level of charge in the high-voltage battery. This extends the car’s overall range in everyday use by 93 miles, increasing it from around 112 miles to a maximum of 205 miles.
Both the i3 and i3s comes with LED lights front and back alongside daytime running lights. On the inside, The carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell has a light and spacious feel. The design principle of the two four-seater models means there is no need for either fixed B-pillars or a transmission tunnel. Doors that open in opposite directions allow the occupants to get in and out with ease.
Driver assistance features new to the BMW i3 include Parking Assistant and Traffic Jam Assistant. The optional Parking Assistance package includes Park Distance Control, a reverse camera and the Parking Assistant feature itself which takes hold of acceleration, braking and gear selection when at a determined parking spot.
The Driving Assistant Plus, also an option, features Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking Function, Speed Limit Info, Proactive Driving Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and the Traffic Jam assistant.