Along with its range, the new i3's performance is also improved over that of the old model, so the purely electric version now sprints from rest to 62mph in 7.3sec, while this slightly heavier Range Extender takes 8.1sec. It's no surprise, then, that the i3 still feels supremely comfortable darting away from traffic lights and accelerating into gaps from a rolling start.
Its performance remains strong at motorway speeds, too. There isn't the same stomach-pinning sensation that you get from stationary, but even up at 50mph it still feels eager enough to make fast overtakes on country roads a safe endeavour. It feels most urgent in its Comfort driving mode, where the throttle is at its most responsive, rather than the range-focused EcoPro, which dulls the throttle (and the air-con) and limits top speed.
Of course, all of this is done in near silence, the only sounds being a faint whine from the motor and the building of road and wind noise as speed increases - but never to annoying levels. Once the battery has depleted to 75% or below, it's possible to fire the two-cylinder generator and preserve the battery, but even its distant hum doesn't disturb the calm.
If anything lets the i3 down just slightly, it would be its ride and handling. Its large, standard 19in wheels and low-profile tyres pick up on sharp ridges at low speeds, but at least the i3 keeps its body from shuddering about at the same time. At higher speeds the same ruts become less intrusive.
And while the i3's brilliant performance made it more than a match for combustion-engined cars on our fast, rolling cross-country route from the Cotswolds and towards London, its chassis feels better set up for town driving than for brisk B-roads. The keen rebound from its suspension and aggressive yet uncommunicative steering had us taking several bites at bends, while its relatively narrow tyres don't offer the last word in grip. Still, for low-speed agility in town, few EVs are better.
That urban prowess doesn't just come from performance and agility, because the good driving position and excellent all-round visibility make it easy to judge the i3's extremities. There are no material or infotainment changes with this update, but then neither was needed. Here, BMW has achieved one of the most interesting interiors on sale, while iDrive remains a benchmark both within and beyond the i3's class.
That said, there are more practical EV choices. Two tall adults will sit comfortably in the front seats, but while the rear-hinged rear doors leave a decent aperture, another two adults won't want to spend much time in the rear seats. It's boot, meanwhile, is actually smaller than that of a Ford Fiesta, at 260 litres.