BMW i3 has proved to be a successful first stab at the all-electric vehicle market for
its Munich maker and since the original 2013 launch, the Munich maker hasn’t stopped trying to improve it.
In 2016, the original 60Ah version was replaced with a 94Ah variant that boosted this model’s
all-electric operating range to over 200 miles. A year later, BMW gave the styling
a minor refresh and added a slightly pokier i3s derivative into the range to create the model line-up we’re going to look at here.
‘Range Extender’ petrol engine to further boost operating mileage.
The result of all these improvements is a car that’s now even harder to ignore in this growing segment.
As you might expect from a BMW product, the i3 doesn’t want for go.
The electric motor is mounted low down within the rear axle which helps
to keep a low centre of gravity and also to improve crashworthiness.
The power unit weighs just 130kg and produces 170bhp in standard form,
which means that the i3’s power to weight ration of 141bhp per tonne is
just 5bhp per tonne shy of a Honda Civic Type R hot hatch.
If you’re interested in a comparison of that sort, you’ll be interested in the
slightly pokier i3s variant, where the electric motor’s power output is boosted
to 184bhp, plus there’s sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.
Whatever i3 variant you choose, as with all electric vehicles, a decisive advantage comes in its amount of torque.
In a typical city scoot such as, say, a 1.2-litre Fiat 500, you can count on 102Nm of torque, but this BMW generates a hefty 250Nm of muscle in its standard
generates a hefty 250Nm of muscle in its standard frm (or 270Nm in ‘i3s’ guise),
offering instant urge with all that torque available from idle.
the gearbox that offers the
choice of three driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+.
The i3s has an extra ‘Sport’ setting.
Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+. The i3s has an extra ‘Sport’ setting.
Design-wise, think of the i3 as a car in two halves.
The bottom half is almost all aluminium, the upper half almost all carbon fibre.
Armed with this information, you can rightly surmise that it doesn’t weigh very much.
the upper half almost all carbon fibre. Armed with this information,
you can rightly surmise that it doesn’t weigh very much.