City Cars

The BMW i3S Is The Hot EV Hatch We Never Knew We Wanted

Only a mild performance increase, yes, but more than enough to make commuting that bit more entertaining.

With all the new metal being showcased at Frankfurt, it’s easy for the less immediately-excitingcars on display to be overlooked. The prime example of this can be found on the huge BMW booth: with the i Vision Dynamics and X7 iPerformance concepts grabbing all the headlines, the electrifiedhatchback that BMW will actually sell you has been largely forgotten as oflate. As such, now's the ideal time to address that balance with the new BMW i3s.

The big news regarding the BMW i3s involves the powertrain upgrades. Whilst the electric motor remains largelyunchanged, subtle revisions do result in outputs of 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft (up from the base car's 174 horsepower and 184lb-ft). They sound meager,but those mild improvements do result in the BMW i3s being rather nippy: the range-extender model can now reach62 mph from a standstill in 7.7 seconds, with a 6.9 seconds time for the EV model. Not eye-watering times, admittedly,but plenty for the city streets and stop/start traffic the i3s willlikely spend most of its life dealing with on a daily basis.

Being the quote-on-quote sportier offering in the i3 range,the BMW i3s also boasts flared-up body mods. Bolder front intakesand a more sculpted front bumper lend the car a more distinctive face over thealready-unmistakable base i3, with the lowered sports suspension and extra40 mm of front and rear track width also doing their part in making the BMW i3s morevisually arresting. New paint jobs are also on offer, ranging from red-and-black two-tone jobs to the monochrome scheme shown in these photos. Alas, nothing really of note has been done to the interior,but that at least means there’s nothing to moan about regarding fit-and-finish.

Other aspects of the BMW i3s do puzzle with their inclusion(namely the new Dynamic Traction Control setup, which allows the driver to – wekid you not – enjoy “mild and safe controllable drifts” where appropriate) andtheir omission (no details on the range-extender version’s range have beendisclosed at time of writing), and the appeal of the BMW i3s will certainlyhinge on how much more it’ll cost over a regular BMW i3. That said, with specsheets and a good-looking show car togo on at the moment, we’re remaining optimistic about the BMW i3s’ chances whenit goes on sale during the 2018 model year.

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