Refreshed electric city car range will gain new range-topper; it's due for reveal at the Frankfurt motor show
26 May 2017

BMW is putting the finishing touches to facelifted version of the i3, including a new range-topping i3S iPerformance model that's set to make its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September. 

Set for UK delivery early next year, the updated i3 receives a number of subtle styling updates that help to visually differentiate it from its four-year-old predecessor.

Included is re-profiled front bumper housing new slim line fog lamps in place of the round units used today, altered LED headlight graphics, revised sills underneath the doors, reworked tail-light lenses, a deeper and reshaped rear bumper, new alloy wheels and a wider range of optional two-tone exterior colour schemes.

Technically, the new model remains the same as the existing i3 – itself updated in 2016 with a 94Ah lithium ion battery, available as an upgrade over the standard 60Ah unit in use since the i3 was launched in 2013.  

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Next to the standard 168bhp version of the quirkily styled rear-wheel drive hatchback, the German car maker also plans to launch a sporting i3S iPerformance variant.

Details remain scarce, though high-level engineering sources at BMW have revealed to Autocar that it will receive an updated electric motor featuring a 20bhp boost in peak power over the standard i3, taking its total up to 188bhp.

The subtle increase in power is claimed to provide the new range-topping i3 model with added accelerative ability without any detriment to driving range, which is a claimed 300km with the 94Ah battery.

The increased performance of the i3S iPerformance is allied to a number of detailed chassis tweaks, including the adoption of a 40mm wider front track and a 10mm reduction in ride height over the standard version of the updated i3.

Autocar can also confirm that BMW has also reprogrammed the dynamic stability control system of the i3 to provide the facelifted model with added grip and traction in wet conditions. 

Inside, the reworked i3 receives a new range of trims as well as an updated iDrive infotainment system featuring the latest software and interface developments – as launched on the latest BMW 5 Series and now featured in other recently facelifted BMW models.

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Our Verdict

BMW i3
Two versions of the BMW i3 are on sale: a pure electric model or a range-extender variant

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Comments
19

28 November 2016
If ever a vehicle needed a facelift, this is the one. However I have no confidence whatsoever in styling small cars.

28 November 2016
The i3 has a bold design, that doesn't work, even though so much is quite nice. It is too disjointed. I think just straightening the belt line through the rear doors would tie everything together.

bol

28 November 2016
I wonder how many people will be tossing up between a Fiesta ST and a BMW i3?

20 February 2017
[quote=bol]I wonder how many people will be tossing up between a Fiesta ST and a BMW i3?[/quote] An excellent point! When I used to use the chargers I noted most I3's arriving were the typical well off baby boomer retiree who would normally buy a quality brand as they did when they worked, chatting, they liked the compact size, easy drive and neglible running costs, with most journeys local running around it was ideal and on longer trips they had the time to spare to charge. I doubt any would have a clue even what a 'Focus ST' was!

29 November 2016
Will the facelift include a third seat on the second row to make it, you know, useful on the urban journey school run?

26 May 2017
Merod wrote:

Will the facelift include a third seat on the second row to make it, you know, useful on the urban journey school run?

This is a sub 4m car. You're either taking the mickey or you're certifiably insane who's cut off your kids' legs. I'm inclined to believe the latter.

4 December 2016
Looks like it's been in an accident, and it has to be plugged in to the mains before it can go anywhere, so long as anywhere is not too far away. Apart from that though, it's merely awful. Electric cars are going nowhere.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

20 February 2017
It's a range extender so doesn't need to be plugged into the mains if you don't want to, but even so an Autocar verified real world range of 217 miles is probably about the same as your incredible Mini Metro. Styling is subjective, but once you've seen a few of them it does look great. As for sales, 10 times more Plug In's sold in Q4 2016 than 3 years previously.

26 May 2017
bowsersheepdog wrote:

Electric cars are going nowhere.

Remember this quote you made in 5 years time... You will laugh at it.

20 February 2017
I hated the styling of this car when it was first launched. Now, though, I like it. I've seen a few on the road, and friend's of mine have one. I agree that ST buyers andd i3 buyers are unlikley to be comparison shopping, but that misses the point. The fact that there is an option of a fsat electric hatch is great

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