Is a 30% range increase enough to get you interested in an i3?
We recently heard a rumor that BMW was set to announce the 2019 i3, which was expected to arrive with improvements to its rather lackluster electric range. Well, it didn't take long because the 2019 i3 has arrived and it does feature an improved driving range over the previous model.
The previous i3 used a 33 kWh battery, but the 2019 model ups it to a 42.2 kWh unit. What this means in the real world is an electric range of 153 miles (an improvement from 115 miles in 2017). This is, of course, not factoring the range extender model, which has yet to be rated.
BMW says the non-range extender model has an improved range of around 30% and the range extender model should be no different. This would put the range extender at around 225 to 234 miles, but we'll have to wait for EPA figures to know for sure. The i3 comes in two flavors with a 170 horsepower electric motor acting as the base, bringing the car from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The more powerful option is the i3s with 181 hp, which can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.
Charging the i3 to 100% capacity takes around seven and a half hours using a level one AC charger, but drops to just one and a half hours on a fast charger.
Aside from the changes to the car's battery, BMW has also made several changes on the exterior and interior with new color and trim options. For 2019, the new color is Jucaro Beige Metallic, which replaces the outgoing Protonic Blue Metallic. Inside, BMW will offer new trim choices including Electronic Brown Trim and Mega Carum Spice Grey SensaTec with Brown Cloth highlights.
BMW made no mention of the latest iDrive 7, so the i3 will continue to use the slight out-of-date iDrive 6 software. Even still, the system features a Wi-Fi hotspot, a wireless charging tray, and connected features which allow you to check if your windows are closed and doors are locked and set the climate control using your phone.
2019 BMW i3 production begins in November 2018, though the company hasn't said when we can expect them to arrive in dealerships. If you can handle a 30% loss in range, go out and buy a 2018 model now while BMW is still offering around $10,000 off MSRP.