BMW Australia has expanded its i3 electric car family for 2018, with the existing i3 battery-electric and i3 with range-extender now accompanied by sportier i3s variants, bringing the range to four models in total. At the same time, a modest mid-cycle update also gives the cooking-model i3s a freshening-up for the 2018 model year.
Prices for the BMW i3 and i3 range extender have undergone a $600 increase, bringing the price of entry up to $68,700 for the base i3 and $74,700 for the i3 range extender. Opting for the i3s equivalent requires just $1200 on top of that.
What do you get for that extra spend? It’s more than just badges and wheels – the i3s receives an uprated powertrain that generates 135kW and 270Nm (10kW and 20Nm more than the regular i3), and is able to sprint from zero to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds in pure EV form, or 7.7 seconds when lugging the extra weight of the range extender motor.
That’s a 0.4 second improvement on the regular i3 variants.
That extra performance doesn’t come at the expense of range, either. Driven under the same conditions, the battery-electric i3s has the same 200km real-world range as the normal i3.
With the range extender that rises to 330km for both the i3 and i3s, though the i3s has a slightly higher fuel consumption claim – 0.7L/100km to the regular i3’s 0.6L/100km.
Interestingly, both the i3 and i3s use the same size battery – a 27kWh lithium-ion unit – with the ‘s’ model’s extra performance coming from higher-efficiency control electronics and drivetrain hardware.
The i3s also flaunts more aggressive bodywork, a tauter suspension tune, 10mm lower ride height and a dedicated Sport mode that introduces a more responsive accelerator pedal and heavier steering.
Wider 20-inch alloys also replace the regular i3’s 19-inch wheels, and add 40mm to the car’s track width.
All i3 variants receive BMW’s latest infotainment hardware and software, which sees a 10.25-inch display grafted to its avant-garde dashboard and more intuitive software being used to control it. Voice control functions have been enhanced too, while Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is now available as an option, and can operate wirelessly.
Meanwhile, the car’s stability control software has been updated by BMW’s engineers, endowing the i3 with better traction in slippery conditions.
Two new exterior colours have been added, while the i3’s two-tone colourway has also been tweaked to enhance its aesthetic appeal.
BMW i3 pricing
- BMW i3 $68,700
- BMW i3 with range extender - $74,700
- BMW i3s - $69,900
- BMW i3s with range extender - $75,900