BMW i3s sacrifices some range, gains a lot of muscle
BMW will be introducing a new model to the i3 electric car lineup, the i3s. This sportier version of the best-selling i3 reduces range by a few miles and gains a lot of power and sport handling to compensate. The BMW i3s will debut in Frankfurt at the International Motor Show in September.
The BMW i3 family will receive some cosmetic changes, mostly to paint styling and fascia molding, for the 2018 model year. The BMW i3s will feature cosmetic differences from its i3 model siblings. The front and rear aprons will have more sport-themed contours with black and gray edges and inlay details. A noticeable drop in ride height (0.4 inches/10 mm) is also seen on the i3s versus its i3 counterparts. Exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels will also be available for the i3s model.
The standard BMW i3 models are powered by a 125 kW (170 horsepower) electric motor that produces up to 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque. The range for the i3 is from 180-186 miles (290-300 km) per charge in the NEDC cycle, or roughly 124 miles (200 km) in everyday use per BMW. The standard i3 has a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) speed of 7.3 seconds with a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h).
The BMW i3s boosts those performance figures, and sacrifices some range to get them. The i3s has a high-performance 135 kW (184 hp) electric motor that outputs a peak 199 lb-ft (270 Nm) of torque. The drive system features taper roller bearings and a modified motor controller to improve power output to the wheels at higher RPM. Top speed is boosted to 99 mph (160 km/h) and 0-100 km/h time is reduced to 6.9 seconds in the i3s.
Range drops are not too severe, given the performance boosts they give to the BMW i3s. The NEDC cycle estimates are 174 miles (280 km) and the BMW estimate will remain at 124 miles. All BMW i3 and i3s range assumptions are based on urban driving as the primary use for the car.
The range-extender engine for the BMW i3 will continue to be available for both the i3 and the i3s models and is unchanged from its previous rendition, adding 93 miles (150 km) to the i3's total range via a small two-cylinder engine used as an electrical generator.
The launch of the 2018 BMW i3 and i3s models comes with some changes to the car's technology and driver assistance offerings as well. BMW is adding Traffic Jam Assistant to the i3 alongside its available Parking Assistant feature. Traffic Jam Assistant is a natural evolution of the stop-and-go adaptive cruise control system found in several BMW vehicles, adding a more seamless low-speed cruise control system for the urban driver with lane-keeping assist included.
The new i3 and i3s will also have an updated version of BMW's iDrive infotainment system, which now has Apple CarPlay included. Some of the upgrades are specific to electric vehicles through the BMW i ConnectedDrive option. These include on-street parking information tailored to include charging availability and including information from the real-time traffic info optioned with a navigation system upgrade.
The range expectation shown in the i3's driver information display will change according to the navigation route chosen, incorporating real-time traffic data, route speeds, etc. The system can also alert others of the car's location via text messaging (SMS) through a Share Live Trip Status option.
Finally, BMW is emphasizing the sustainability factor included with the i3 models. The i3 and i3s are designed not only for locally emissions-free driving, but also include about 80 percent recycled content and are designed to be as fully recyclable as possible. The factories producing the i3 are award-winning environmentally low-impact manufacturing facilities as well.
The 2018 BMW i3 and i3s will debut at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show and will begin to enter showrooms globally in November 2017.