What is it?
The makers of 'the ultimate driving machine' perhaps felt they could cut themselves some slack when they made the BMW i3. The electrically driven small premium model is one of the most interesting cars on sale to sit in, be around and examine, but has not hitherto been terribly exciting to drive.
Three years on from its launch, here is the BMW i3s: faster, lower, a bit wider and with 'S' in its name, which as we all know is shorthand for sport. Nobody ever added that letter to a car’s name while trying to imply it was slower or more sensible.
There is meant to be more 'ultimate driving machine' to the i3s, then, so it has an additional 13bhp (now reaching 181bhp) and 15lb ft (now at 199lb ft) over the conventional i3, although it is backed by the same 33.2kWh battery. You can still have it as a pure electric vehicle or with a 650cc twin-cylinder range-extending generator, which adds easily refillable range and 120kg.
More significant, though, when it comes to the way the i3s drives, is the fact that it rides 10mm lower than a regular i3, has a 40mm wider track (and diddy wheel arch extensions to accommodate it) and rides on larger wheels and tyres. There is now 195/55 profile rubber on 20in rims, rather than 155/70in tyres on 19s - something you suspect will make the biggest difference to the ride and handling.
Elsewhere, the i3s package remains much the same. It’s a rear-engined, rear-motored, rear-drive vehicle with a funky interior, constructed in places from unusual materials. This model, though, gets a new 10.3in infotainment display, with BMW’s latest software.