New 2018 BMW i3 & i3s Compared: Full Specs, Massive Gallery, Video

AUG 30 2017 BY MARK KANE 46

BMW i3 & i3s

In Frankfurt for the 2017 IAA autoshow, BMW will officially present the new i3 and i3s (sport version) in the flesh. And while the standard i3 doesn’t change much in appearance or performance, the i3s not only has several design clues, it is a quicker package all around.

BMW i3 & i3s

BMW has decided to increase the motor output in the i3s from 125 kW to 135 kW, and at the same time increase the maximum torque from 250 Nm to 270 Nm.

However that doesn’t tell us the whole story, as the motor also has much more torque at higher revs for better acceleration when overtaking at speed.

0-37 mph: 3.7 s (i3s) vs 3.8 s (i3)

0-62 mph: 6.9 s (i3s) vs 7.3 s (i3)

50-75 mph: 4.3 s (i3s) vs 5.1 s (i3)

The top speed of the i3s is also slightly increased – to  100 mph / 160 km/h.

The battery… well, BMW continues to focus on the relatively new 94 Ah cells and 33.2 kWh battery packs (27.2 kWh usable).   We believe that the next battery capacity upgrade (120 Ah) is still a full model year away, which might be a letdown for some who were hoping to see it this Fall.

Below:  Highlights/graphics charting all of the changes for 2018, as well as the full specifications on both models, with and without the range-extender.  As well as a massive new photo gallery and videos on the 2018 BMW i3/i3s.

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

Highlights of the new BMW i3 & BMW i3s

2018 BMW i3 specs

BMW i3 spec

BMW i3 spec

BMW i3 spec

BMW i3s specs:

BMW i3s spec

BMW i3s spec

BMW i3s spec

BMW i3

BMW i3s

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46 Comments on "New 2018 BMW i3 & i3s Compared: Full Specs, Massive Gallery, Video"

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Am I wrong or does the BoltEV beat the new i3 in most ways that matter (range, price, passenger space, 0-60)?

There were only four things I could find that the new i3 was better then the BoltEV at:

* Slightly smaller turning radius
* Slightly more trunk space
* Lower Weight
* Higher MPGe

Heck the BoltEV even beats the REX on range.

It is becoming clearer how far GM and Tesla leap-frogged everyone else. We’ll have to see if the Leaf refresh meets or exceeds expectations.

The interior is much nicer material on the i3 than it is on the Bolt EV, and the i3 is much lighter due to carbon fiber and smaller battery. You are right though, the Bolt EV is pretty impressive.

I prefer the driving dynamics of my 2014 i3 to the 2017 Bolt. Don’t let numbers fool you.

Rear & front seats have more head room and are more comfortable.

Already have enough range and the REX makes it fool proof (nothing like getting at a DCFC with a line up and having a choice you can’t have with the Bolt)

The interior is still one of the best after 4 years on the market.

It actually has a Navigation system with all the charging station updated live. Easy to plan trips.

One if the most efficient car on the road without compromising driving dynamics.

Fast charging is actually fast. And rumours are the 2019 could get 150kWh

That just a few more points I quickly found, I’m sure there is more.

You can always tell someone who has never driven an i3.
Not to pick on this guy.
The suspension is phenomenal.
It’s a Lux Sport EV.

So, yes, there’s a reason the sticker is 50,000+.
But, off year cars are real bargains.

And I’ll take the REX any day over the Bolt. Because there’s still no high speed CCG charging stations in place, especially in rural America. And I’m not sitting around for 8 hours waiting for the Bolt to charge.

You can “code” the i3, and let the REX engine run on the highway, where you can’t hear it, and shut it off in towns. So, it’s perfect for long trips.

But, “off Lease” cars are real bargains.
You’re getting a sophisticated vehicle for an incredible price.

Comparing a Bolt and an i3 is like comparing a Chevy Malibu to a 5 series. ‘Same size, interior space and range…what gives with the price?’

The i3 is one of the most advanced vehicles on the road in terms of materials and construction.

I would take an i3 or a Bolt over most other EVs. 🙂 I seriously considered a used Rex a few years ago. I liked the interior and it was fun to drive. I much prefered it over my Leaf test drive.

My main beefs with the i3 are the rear doors and odd styling. I think the car looks pretty good in black and dark gray but I do not personally like the two-tone colors.

We ended up going with a Spark + Volt combo in the end – I drive a Bolt now. All three GM EVs have been great. A Tesla or GM Plug-In would be my first choices. But an i3 Rex would be my third. Although the next gen Leaf might put Nissan back ahead of BMW in my book once a 60 kWh model launches.

Bolt has higher MPGe rating than i3 (33 kWh version). i3S is not yet published, but kWh/100km is higher as shown in the specs, so I suspect MPGe will be even lower for i3S. That is a phenomenal engineering feat by GM for having ~500 lb heavier car with more power that is more efficient than i3 with all the “carbon fiber” hoopla.

Yes, you’d be wrong.
1) price the lease.
2) Test drive both.
The i3, every time you touch something will score 300% better then the Bolt. The door handle, the steering wheel. the armrest on the door, the center console, where your knuckles touch, the iDrive knob.
3) Driving dynamics.
Lux ride on a great suspension.
On a good road the ride is excellent, on a bad road it’s better than average. The tall tires roll over bumps with grace and control.

The front steering, no torque steer, excellent directional control, not jittery, not nervous, smoothly confident driving.

Stable on the highway at 73, I haven’t gone faster.

The quiet cabin, and it’s got a REX engine you can turn on on the highway between towns, to stretch your battery range. Great for rural America.

The seats, the seats are very supportive and have excellent back contour. Compare the Bolt to a Leaf. It’s out-classed by the i3.

And remember, on most of America there are no CCS/high speed chargers, except for Tesla.

Today, it’s Tesla or BMW REX and nothing else.

I recently did a bevy of EV test drives – BMW i3, VW e-Golf, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf. That is also the order of preference. The way the i3 drives will change the perception of the test driver…it was really-really good. The only thing the bolt has going for it is the range. That is it. The power is negated on the street by the torque steer and tire scrabble. The build quality and materials are horrendous.

I am about a year away from purchasing my first BEV. It will be the third car at our household (and mine) as the first of two kids are hitting driving age. So far if everything stays the same, it would be the i3 or the e-Golf.

You said,”and it’s got a REX engine you can turn on on the highway between towns, to stretch your battery range. Great for rural America.” I don’t understand. Do you mean switch to the engine on the highway and go full electric in town? If so, First, how do you switch from engine to electric? 2. How does it stretch battery range? 3. When I drive the engine on the highway there is a sever reduction in power, as you know. Straight and level, not much problem, but even a little hill and you’re severely slowed down. Sometime as slow as 40mph. Tell me more. I’m ignorant but would love to travel more and live in the middle of nowwere (New Mexico). Thanks. RB

Thanks, great spec sheets. Interesting, almost all the power difference is above 5k RPM, and the difference is huge at high speed highway. At 11000 RPM the i3s has about 50% more power. However, low speeds they are virtually identical, so aren’t going to notice much difference 0-45mph.

There’s an impression I get, that the i3 actually delivers more power the faster you go. Driving a 2017.
This could be why.

I can only see 1 door with handle on each side,or am I worng? Then what does “No of doors / seats: 5/4” mean? Only 4 people can be loaded?

If the driveline and battery output and prices is the same as 2017, then EPA range is 117 miles and price range is around USD 44 400.

Who will by this car?

Suicide doors….can’t open back door w/o opening front one first.

And yes, it only seats 4.

Some reasons why some people would buy an i3:

• rear-wheel drive, mid-engine car with almost equal front-rear weight distribution;
• sophisticated multilink rear suspension;
• light and nimble handling;
• quality interior;
• rust-free, light yet strong aluminum/CFRP/thermoplastic construction;
• very compact exterior with spacious interior.

So they improved things that weren’t a problem to begin with but did nothing about the major flaw of limited range?

It’s like modern smart phones. You can have a quad core CPU, 4k resolution screen and super fast 3D graphics performance but if you actually want to use it the battery is flat in 5 minutes.

How impressive!

So even the 2018 i3 model will provide 1 mile of range for 370-390 USD and takes only 4 people.

That is some 95 USD per person! Also consumption should be calculated for kWh/km/person.

Are there a lot of e-cars in this category seating 4?

Nissan Leaf? Renault Zoe?
Model 3? Bolt?
Hyundai Kona? IONIQ?

For those who need more range than the BEV offers (many don’t including me), there’s the REx option.

Many of us don’t want to drive a car heavy with a high-capacity battery pack whose range we would seldom us. As battery cell energy density increases, the weight penalty for a large-capacity battery pack will diminish. But the cost penalty might remain, so having a lower-capacity option will always be attractive to some.

A lower-capacity battery packs means the pack will degrade (wear out) faster, will charge on the road more slowly, and the resale value will be lower, in addition to of course having a more limited range and therefore offering less flexibility in use.

Getting an EV with a smaller battery pack is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

And that’s base on what? Your feelings or facts?

The 2017 i3 actually recharge faster then the Bolt on 50kWh DCFC.(0% to 80%) Meaning more Km/Miles per minutes of charge. Less waiting, more driving = Getting at destination faster.

Of course the i3 charges faster, it has half the battery size of the Bolt.

Lipstick on a piggybank.

Yawn. Actually, big yawn. The motor is only a token upgrade from the non-s version.

Yeah, I was wondering what is the big deal. Then it dawned on me, there isn’t one.

and the permanent frustrating search for fast charging places…….if any….

That’s why you buy a REX. BMW the only manufacturer that gives you 100 miles of range, and then a gas engine solution.

Good point!

There is
-the “range anxiety”, (disappearing slowly, but not with BMW) then
-the “chargepoint anxiety” (still here, see Solar Eclipse 4 hour ques) and finally
the-„battery change” anxiety (disarmed on this site several times:- )

So much prejudice and old data out there!

You can actually search for DCFC in the Nav system. The Bolt? oupsss… Apple Car, no app that know your actual range and suggest a DCFC.

They need to afix a decal on the front and back of the new one to tell people all the new descriptive terms. This is now “sophisticated, sporty and elegant” and point at what changed so we’ll be able to tell the difference.

Where are the wheels that will hold tires from enough different sources so we can buy one from the nearest tire store when we have a flat, since they don’t have a spare tire?

This is like thoese before and after pictures where the only difference is the the person is more tan in the after shot.

BMW has a lot to offer. People driving the i3 really like it, it is a serious EV, don’t let the range or funny looks fool you.

Good to see the i3 get rid of the two-tone exterior paint color which was so polarizing.

But almost all of the changes noted are cosmetic. How many people really care about the bumpers being redesigned?

A slightly wider rear wheelbase is good, but 40mm is less than two inches. So likely only a slight improvement in rear seat hip and shoulder room.

However, the elephant in the room is battery pack capacity and EV range. What, little or no improvement there? 😯 FAIL!

With a battery pack of only 33.2 kWh, BMW ensures the i3 will remain firmly in the second tier, “also ran” category of BEVs.

The interior width hasn’t changed. They only put wider tires on it and that’s it.

So many don’t understand the huge difference in the fun to drive quotient an i3 has. And again, at our EV car show, a 370 lb guy sat in my drivers seat fairly comfortably. Begged him to try the a Bolt with the seat all the way down and back. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t squeeze into the Bolt. So before saying the Bolt is roomier, you have to just look past total CU ft interior space compared to the openess the interior’s actually exude. And again RWD/Rear motor, whole different level of driving precision and full throttle traction and stability
I3 excels beyond belief.

U biased beyond belief !

Umm, I have test driven so many EVs beyond belief. On my 6th EV, and had a P100DL last weekend. I3 is exciting every time I drive it. Most others, not so much. They are great for transportation but lack the unique sporty character that the i3 has. The new i3s will be a blast to drive through the canyons. For those of us who actually look forward to going for a Sunday morning blast though the back roads rather than just point A to point B transportation.

My Smartcar EV was fun to drive at half the cost!

My wife drives an i3. Obviously I prefer my 2017 Volt. But I think if I had to choose between the i3 and the Bolt EV, it would be a tough choice. The Bolt is a great car, but there’s no denying the Rex makes the i3 far more versatile than a BEV.

Most Rex’es sre retuned after lease , as no one wants to foot the hi maintenance costs of the rex
Go checkout discussions of Rex owners near lease

Some returned it for the i3 BEV.
I plan to do the same

The day you really need the rex on long drove , you start getting Drivetrain warnings …

If the price of this car is not $30k or below, they will sell very fer of them…..really behind the times….

For the most part, the sports higher power motor just made up for the performance it LOST in the 2017 model year when the larger/heavier battery packs were installed.

Indeed, based on feedback I hear from owners, the software updates to existing cars to soften the torque hit off the line (preserving the apparently still fragile – even after being re-designed – motor mount bolts) also removed some of the fun quotient I remember from my test drives. A shame really.

I’ll be very sad to sell my 2014 i3 in March 2018, as I’m moving away from Bay Area where charging is so easy.

It has been a terrific car, and all my passengers comment on the interior space as being unique, stylish, and fun. Sure there are always pitfalls, (range) but when you think of all the money I saved not buying gasoline, it’s been a great bargain. And no trips for maintenance or oilchange etc.

Great start for your first comprehensive review… I recently took delivery of 2018 i3S REX … this car is lightening on wheels. With all the discounts include our utility $10K corporate rebate we got this fantastic car for $36K before taxes. I know the i3 as I’ve owned 2 BEV 2014 i3, one new and one CPO. I’m finding this version is a major improvement in so many ways. Love the sports mode, moonroof, new info system, blue seat belts, new spook wheels, the high beams are awesome, and the front grill… now that’s sexy! Only one change that is a disappointment. They removed of the frunk hood opener from the remote. With the REX and the 94 Ah 33 kWh battery, we were very comfortable making our first long distance trip. It was 275 miles to Cape Cod. Never a thought about range concerns. There were so many DCFC on the route and once on the Cape, we were able to drive locally for days in Echo Pro + averaging 5+ miles / kWh. Hyannis, MA has multiple DCFC options including one at the local BMW dealer (but it was out of service), two at Whole Foods, and one… Read more »