Rather than just overhauling its popular plug-in electric city car for the next model year, in Frankfurt BMW will be unveiling a thoroughly updated i3 but will also be taking the wraps off a new variant, the performance-focused i3S.
When it was first unveiled in 2013, the original i3 was a massive step into the unknown for BMW – a company with such a strong brand identity as builders of genuine drivers’ cars. But thanks to its unique exterior design, use of exotic materials such as carbon fiber and a market positioning that underlined its premium attributes, it’s been the biggest selling plug-in car in its class for the past three years.
And with the new i3S, which will debut alongside the 201 i3, BMW is going even further. Thanks to a heavily restyled front and rear plus the blackening of the car’s A-pillars, the car looks wider and lower and therefore sportier. The ride height has been dropped by 10mm and the front and rear track extended by 40mm for better handling and the car comes with a new sports suspension set up.
Then there’s the motor: in the new i3 it delivers a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds, 127kW, 250Nm of torque and an electronically limited top speed of 150km/h. It’s also good for 290-300km on the new NEDC cycle.
However, the i3S, as one would hope, takes things up a notch. The electric motor outputs 137kW and 270Nm of torque while the 0-100km/h time is a noticeably quicker 6.9 seconds, as is the top speed, capped at 160km/h. Yet it’s still good for up to 280km on the NEDC cycle.
As with the original i3, owners can also specify a gasoline-powered range extension motor. It can add a further 150km to the car’s range. And on top of the performance upgrades come an upgraded package of active driver aids including park assist, emergency autonomous braking, active cruise control with traffic jam assist and active lane keeping.
Both models will make their real-world debut at the Frankfurt auto show on September 12 before going on sale in November. – AFP Relaxnews