New i3s can hit 62mph in 6.9sec; updated regular version has 168bhp; prices start at £34,070
12 September 2017

BMW has unveiled the i3s – an updated version of its three- year-old electric-powered hatchback featuring a more sporting appearance, added reserves and an upgraded wheel and tyre package.

It heads a new four-model strong facelifted i3 line-up that's on display at the Frankfurt motor show. Sales have kicked off now, with prices for the range starting at £34,070. The i3s starts at £36,975.

Central among the changes brought to the new i3s is a more powerful synchronous electric motor. With 181bhp and 199lb ft of torque, the rear mounted unit is tuned to deliver a subtle 13bhp and 15lb ft more than the in-housed produced motor used by the standard version of the facelifted i3, which continues to produce 168bhp and 184lb ft.

Both new i3 models deliver drive to the rear-wheels via the same a fixed ratio gearbox. But while the standard i3 runs restyled 19-inch wheels shod with the same 155/70 profile low rolling resistance as the original model launched in 2014, the new i3s comes with larger 20-inch alloys and wider 195/50 profile rubber. 

With the larger wheels and greater levels of standard equipment, the i3s tips the scales 20kg above its standard sibling at 1265kg. However, its added power and torque sees it post a faster 0-62mph time at 6.9sec versus the claimed 7.2sec for the standard i3. The new range topping i3 model also reaches a higher limited top speed of 100mph against the 93mph of its less powerful sibling.

In a bid to improve its agility, BMW has provided the i3s with a 40mm wider rear track. It is combined with a sport suspension featuring a 10mm lower ride height than the standard i3, together with uniquely tuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.  Further changes are concentrated at the dynamic stability control system, which receives new software that is claimed to provide it with faster and improved response to a loss in traction.  

BMW readies radical battery technology for 2026 launch

Another new feature is the sport driving mode that allows the driver to call up more direct properties for the steering and throttle.

The new i3 and i3s use the same 94Ah lithium ion battery that was introduced as a running change to the zero-emission BMW in early 2016. With a capacity of 33.2kWh, it is claimed to provide both models with a maximum range of between 146 and 158 miles on the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle) test procedure cycle, with the more familiar but less representative NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test figure unchanged at 186 miles.

As with the facelifted version of the standard i3, the new i3s also comes with an optional range extender in the form of a rear-mounted 647cc two-cylinder petrol engine. Bringing an additional 120kg in kerb weight, it acts purely as a generator, providing electrical charge to the floor mounted battery when required.

The stylistic changes brought to the facelifted i3 are relatively subtle. Included among the mid-life makeover is a new front bumper. It features greater structure and dispenses with the round outboard high beam lights for new thin line LED units that act as blinkers. The headlamps have also been upgraded with LED functions for both the dipped and high beam. The new model also features a black roof, revised sills, lightly altered tail lamps graphics and a revised rear bumper.

On top of this, the i3s gains subtle wheel arch flares as well as blue highlights within the bumpers and along the sills.

Inside, the 2018-model-year i3 receives revised trims and upholstery together with a new 10.3 inch infotainment display featuring a new tile based operating system. 

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Comments
25

28 August 2017

So, by and large it is exactly the same as it was before then. 40kw+ would have been nice.. 

29 August 2017
Luap wrote:

So, by and large it is exactly the same as it was before then. 40kw+ would have been nice.. 

Most manufacturers launch battery upgrades separately to model facelifts, which is sensible given how rapidly battery technology is developing. A significantly better battery pack can be produced every couple of years, whereas major mechanical updates tend to be every 3-5 years.

Samsung SDI, who makes BMW's battery cells, has a new 120Ah cell that should eventually find its way into the i3. The rumour is that this will happen in about a year's time, and should offer around 60% more range (other sources estimate 43.2 kWh capacity, which would be more like +30% range).

That'd be similar to the Renault Zoe ZE40, which is substantially cheaper and came out last year. Tesla's Model 3 will also be available on the LHD market by then and UK market shortly after, and with around 55 kWh, it'll make the BMW look pretty silly. They probably need to be quicker about productionising new battery technology.

29 August 2017

1265kg - far too heavy.

29 August 2017
max1e6 wrote:

1265kg - far too heavy.

Focus 2.0 Auto (7.8secs to 60) 1505kg KERB Weight, far too heavy(ier)???? 

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

29 August 2017

this is notheavy considering its size and the battery pack along with back up mpotor the tesla are over 2000kg  for comparison and a fiesta must be abput a tonne.inpetrol form.

29 August 2017
Ski Kid wrote:

this is notheavy considering its size and the battery pack along with back up mpotor the tesla are over 2000kg  for comparison and a fiesta must be abput a tonne.inpetrol form.

Actually it's a kerb weight of around 1,610 kg not over 2000kg!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

29 August 2017

Surely the i3 is fast enough already. Providing it with even more performance is simply giving the driver the option of discharging the battery even faster than before, so what's the point?  In fact, if the top speed was not restricted, the i3 would run out of juice in less than 15 minutes. Most owners are likely to be driving this car well under its full potential in order too eek out a sensible range. 

29 August 2017
LP in Brighton wrote:

Surely the i3 is fast enough already. Providing it with even more performance is simply giving the driver the option of discharging the battery even faster than before, so what's the point?  In fact, if the top speed was not restricted, the i3 would run out of juice in less than 15 minutes. Most owners are likely to be driving this car well under its full potential in order too eek out a sensible range. 

Not really. Fun factor is the i3's USP - you can't get a quicker EV below Tesla territory, and those cars weigh close to twice as much. More power, more fun. It's just a shame that it's come at the cost of more weight, and isn't enough extra power to be worthwhile.

As for eking out range, that's not really how it works. If you're not doing a 100+ mile drive, range does not matter at all, so just drive the pants off it and let it recharge on the driveway. Arguably, a daily driving EV takes 30 seconds to 'refuel' - 15 to plug it in when you get home, 15 to unplug it in the morning.

29 August 2017
Vertigo wrote:
LP in Brighton wrote:

Surely the i3 is fast enough already. Providing it with even more performance is simply giving the driver the option of discharging the battery even faster than before, so what's the point?  In fact, if the top speed was not restricted, the i3 would run out of juice in less than 15 minutes. Most owners are likely to be driving this car well under its full potential in order too eek out a sensible range. 

Not really. Fun factor is the i3's USP - you can't get a quicker EV below Tesla territory, and those cars weigh close to twice as much. .

Please do some research a Model 3 is around 1,610kg an i3 (according to this article for which I’m doubtful about) weighs in at 1265kg, not even remotely double.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

29 August 2017
xxxx wrote:

Vertigo wrote:

Fun factor is the i3's USP - you can't get a quicker EV below Tesla territory, and those cars weigh close to twice as much. .

Please do some research a Model 3 is around 1,610kg an i3 (according to this article for which I’m doubtful about) weighs in at 1265kg, not even remotely double.

...Which you can't currently get. Model S is around 2 to 2.3 tonnes; Model X gets up to 2.5 which is literally double.

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