BMW i3S Arrives With A Sporty Side To Please Enthusiasts


Electric city car receives facelift and new trim for 2018.

The BMW i3 has not been the hottest seller since its introduction back in 2013. BMW hopes that it can attract more buyers to its small EV with the facelifted 2018 model. The i3 was such a departure from traditional BMWs; not exactly "the ultimate driving machine" with its lackluster range and FWD layout. For 2018, the new i3S should help dispel certain criticisms of the car, but we can't help but think that BMW focused on the wrong issue.

The i3S gets a more powerful electric motor good for 184 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, up from the standard i3 with 170 hp and 184 lb-ft or torque. The S model also gets sportier suspension, dropping the car an inch lower to the ground and a set of wider 20-inch wheels. Visually, the i3S also gets new wheel arch moldings that give the car a wider stance. There are also some new exterior changes like a new bumper inlay. The interior remains quirky and eco-oriented with trim that is made of 80 percent recycled materials. Both versions come with BMW's new latest iDrive 6 interface which will include Apple Car Play.

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The new i3 will be available with a host of safety features such as active driving assistant, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, real-time traffic info, connected drive services, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning, and park distance control. BMW has also updated the car's charging cable, which can now fill up the car's range in just three hours (five times quicker than the old cable). For $499, BMW will sell a BMW TurboCord that charges three-times faster than the standard cord. Prices have not been announced, but we should get more details near the car's official release at Frankfurt in September.

We find it odd that BMW chose not to give the i3 a longer range. The 2018 model has the exact same range as the outgoing model. In a world where Tesla and Chevy sell cars with over 200 miles of range, the i3's 180-mile range with the optional range extender isn't very impressive. We are glad that BMW made the i3 a bit more sporty, but we think that a longer range model would have helped sell more units than one that's just a bit more sporty.