Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006
BMW i3 & BMW i3s

New BMW i3 and BMW i3S

BMW i3 & BMW i3s

BMW i3 & BMW i3s

The BMW i3 has received a major refresh, new technology and the addition of a new, sportier variant, the BMW i3s.

The new BMW i3s offers a higher output, model-specific chassis technology, enhanced handling and new design features.

The new BMW i3 and new BMW i3s will have their world premieres at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main in September 2017. The global market launch will begin in November 2017.

Both models draw their energy from the lithium-ion high-voltage battery with a capacity of 94Ah (33kWh). A range-extender engine can be ordered as an option for both models.

The synchronous electric motor powering the new BMW i3 generates a maximum output of 170hp and reaches a peak torque of 250Nm, all of which is available instantly from a standstill. The power is transferred via a single-speed automatic transmission meaning the zero to 62mph benchmark sprint can be achieved in 7.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 93mph.

Located low in the vehicle floor, the lithium-ion high-voltage battery provides a range of 180-186 miles based on the NEDC cycle, 146 to 158 miles based on the new WLTP test cycle (showing that the new WLTP test gives a range of approximately 81-86% of the NEDC result), and up to 125 miles in everyday use. The combined electric power consumption of the new BMW i3 on the NEDC cycle varies between 13.1 and 13.6kWh for every 62 miles.

The handling characteristics of the BMW i3 have been improved still further by the optimised Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. This faster responding traction control system guarantees confident handling under all driving conditions. The BMW i3 now features a unique form of wheel speed limiting that ensures increased directional stability both under acceleration and on the overrun with strong regenerative braking. Traction during pull-away on snow and wet roads has also been noticeably improved. DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) mode now boosts agility at higher speeds even allowing mild and safely controllable drifts on cornering.

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.

The new BMW i3s also 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; CO2 emissions: 14 g/km).

A number of exterior design details pf the i3 have also been refreshed.

Both the new BMW i3 and new BMW i3s come with an updated version of the iDrive operating system for infotainment, communications and navigation functions. All vehicles are now equipped with the Navigation system Professional, where the Control Display has a diagonal of 10.25-inches and an increased resolution of 1,440 × 540 pixels.

BMW Digital Charging Service enables intelligent charging. BMW ConnectedDrive and the BMW ConnectedDrive Portal turns charging into a digital experience. BMW customers can optimise charging costs, make best use of self-generated solar energy for charging and even earn money through integration into the smart grid. The service’s ease of use – from a smartphone via BMW Connected or from desktop and tablets via the BMW ConnectedDrive Portal – also facilitates fully transparent, sustainable use of renewable energy.

360° ELECTRIC is a range of products and services that help make electric mobility a convenient, everyday experience. The functionality of the standard charging cable supplied with the new BMW i3s has been optimised and includes a temperature sensor. Charging at home using the BMW i Wallbox can supply 11kW of power to charge the high-voltage battery. This allows enough energy for an electric range of around 112 miles to be transferred in under three hours – five times quicker than with the standard charging cable. The new BMW i Wallbox Connect also extends the functionality of the globally unique BMW Digital Charging Service to provide intelligent charging for optimal cost efficiency, and allows customers to make best use of self-generated solar energy. In addition, it is also possible to control the charging process using a smartphone app and manage usage by means of an access card. Drivers with a registered ChargeNow card have unrestricted access to the world’s largest network of public charging stations.

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.

BMW states that consumption and emissions figures as well as ranges according to NEDC test cycle may vary depending on the tyre format specified, and that ranges according to WLTP test cycle may vary depending on the tyre format specified and the equipment level.

Figures according to BMW are based on range measurements in everyday use in urban areas, exterior temperature of 20°C, with heating/air conditioning and pre-conditioning, in COMFORT driving mode, and range is dependent on various factors, in particular personal driving style, route characteristics, exterior temperature, pre-conditioning.