With over 8,000 vehicles sold in the UK since launch, the BMW i3 is the best-selling electric car in the premium compact segment. Now, the success story is set to continue with a major refresh, new technology and the addition of a new, sportier variant, the BMW i3s.
With a higher output, model-specific chassis technology, enhanced handling and design features, the i3s offers driving pleasure along with zero local emissions, premium quality and a new level of connectivity technology.
The new BMW i3 and new BMW i3s will celebrate their world premieres at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main in September 2017. The global market launch will begin in November 2017.
The new BMW i3s is powered by a high-performance 184hp electric motor that generates peak torque of 270Nm. Its updated drive system includes modified motor control and specific taper roller bearings, which have been utilised to further optimise power delivery and the performance curve at higher rpm. At the limits of the motor speed range, the power and torque of the further developed drive system represent an improvement of up to 40 per cent for the BMW i3.
What’s more, the new BMW i3s boasts sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Drivers can also select SPORT mode using the Driving Experience Control switch which delivers a more direct accelerator response and tighter steering characteristics.
The new BMW i3s utilises sports suspension that includes a 10mm drop in ride height. The additional 40mm of track width compared to the BMW i3 is given added impact by the black wheel arch borders. The new BMW i3s comes as standard with exclusive 20-inch light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design that are 20mm wider than the previously available versions. They come as standard in Bicolour and are optionally available in Jet Black.
The BMW i3s is capable of get from zero to 62mph in 6.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 99mph. It returns a combined electric power consumption of 14.3kWh per 62 miles* on the NEDC cycle. Its electric range runs to 174 miles* based on the NEDC cycle, 146 to 152 miles** as per WLTP and up to 125 miles*** in everyday use.
A 38hp two-cylinder range extender petrol engine is available as an option for both the new BMW i3 and the new BMW i3s. The engine drives a generator that produces power as required while driving to maintain a constant level of charge in the high-voltage battery. This extends the car’s overall range in everyday use by 93 miles, increasing it from around 112 miles to a maximum of 205 miles***. The all-electric range of the new BMW i3 with range extender is 140 – 146 miles* as per NEDC and 118 – 124 miles** as per WLTP. The corresponding figures for the new BMW i3s with range extender come in at 137 miles* on the NEDC and 115 to 121 miles** on the WLTP cycle.
On the NEDC cycle, the new BMW i3 with range extender returns combined consumption figures per 62 miles of 11.9kWh to 11.5kWh of electric power and 0.6 litres of fuel (CO2 emissions: 14 –13 g/km)*. On the same combined NEDC cycle, the new BMW i3s with range extender consumes 12.5kWh of electric power per 62 miles and 0.7 litres of fuel (fuel consumption of 403.5mpg imp; CO2 emissions: 14 g/km)*.
The unmistakable exterior of the BMW i3 styling has already picked up the Gold iF award for product design and the World Car Design of the Year award along with other accolades, but new deft design touches have been introduced to convey the sporty and stirring driving experience on offer.
The trademark BMW i Black Belt running from the bonnet over the roof to the car’s rear end is now complemented by A-pillars and roof lines that also sport a black finish. The range of paint finishes for the remaining body elements has been extended to include Melbourne Red metallic and Imperial Blue metallic. Customers can also choose from the non-metallic shades Capparis White and Fluid Black as well as Protonic Blue metallic and Mineral Grey metallic.
The restyling of the front and rear aprons place particular emphasis on the car’s width to give a sportier look and a chrome-design strip running across the full width of the rear and the positioning of the model and eDrive badges on the outer edges of the boot lid serves to reinforce this impression.
The new BMW i3 and new BMW i3s come equipped with all-LED headlights as standard, which employ LED bulb units for dipped beam and high beam as well as the daytime running lights. The new turn signal indicators also feature LED technology and are integrated into the front apron in the form of horizontal strips. This means that LEDs are now used for all lighting functions at the front of the vehicle too, as was already the case with the glass-covered rear light assemblies.
At the front the sporty theme continues. The front bumper is painted in the body colour and has a black U-shaped surround. Moving round to the rear end, the moulded contours and the contrast in colour between the black surround and the body-coloured inlay again create an energetic appearance. The new silver-coloured roof line accent for the new BMW i3 adds a further touch of elegance and dynamism. It widens towards the rear, thereby accentuating the stream flow.
Both the front and rear aprons are notable for their model-specific, powerfully shaped contours. At the front, the bumper inlay, as well as the U-shaped surround that encircles it, has a black finish. The front apron’s side sections are bordered on their lower edge by accent strips in BMW i Blue or Frozen Grey to further emphasise the width of the car. The accent in the closed BMW kidney grille is painted in high-gloss black on the BMW i3s to give the grille a larger and more prominent appearance. The rear apron of the new BMW i3s is likewise composed of individually styled contours, while the black surround frames an extra-wide, body-coloured inlay. On the new BMW i3s, the roof line accent also sports the same high-gloss black finish as the A-pillars.
Like the exterior design, the interior styling of the new BMW i3 and new BMW i3s is rooted in the novel LifeDrive vehicle architecture. The carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell has a light and spacious feel. The design principle of the two four-seater models means there is no need for either fixed B-pillars or a transmission tunnel. Doors that open in opposite directions allow the occupants to get in and out with ease.
The Loft, Lodge and Suite equipment lines are available for the new BMW i3 and new BMW i3s as alternatives to the standard Atelier version. The Lodge interior design option includes a new covering for the seat surfaces in Solaric Brown that combines natural leather tanned using an olive leaf extract with a wool-based textile material. The i3 and i3s feature recycled plastics, renewable raw materials, natural fibres and open-pored, unbleached eucalyptus wood. More than 80 per cent of the surfaces visible to the passengers are made from recycled materials or renewable resources. The new blue seat belt option provides a splash of colour while BMW i3s offers front floor mats with unique badging as standard.
On sale from August 2017 with prices starting from £34,070 OTR.