BMW i3s Makes World Debut In Frankfurt

1 month ago by Christopher Smith 44

BMW i3s

A little bit of sport goes a long way.

BMW is keen to give its city-dwelling i3 a bit more flavor, hence the addition of the small-but-significant s to the name. As per usual with BMW, such upgrades are more than just a name and some flashy trim, though the black grille and wheel arches do a surprising amount of good in giving this little car a proper bit of attitude. Under the lights in Frankfurt it catches the eye much quicker than we’d expect compared to the standard i3.  (Full BMW i3s launch details/specs here)

BMW i3s

But again, there’s more to the i3s than a bit of flash. BMW dropped the height and widened the track, both of which give the already nimble city car a better bite on the road. The car features sport suspension tuning, with a dedicated sport mode to liven things up. The standard 20-inch wheels wear wider rubber while also enhancing the car’s look, though some might feel such large wheels on a small car create an awkward appearance.

Tweaked suspension is nothing without a bit more power, which is why BMW turned up the juice on the i3s. The electric motor generates 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of instant twist, which is good enough to scoot the car to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds. In Sport mode, accelerator and steering responses are sharpened to help drivers cope with the bimmer’s enhanced athleticism.

BMW i3s

In normal driving conditions, the i3s can do about 100 miles on a charge. Should drivers require a bit more, am on-board twin-cylinder gasoline engine will fire up to charge the batteries, extending the i3s range to 180 miles. All in all, not bad for a city dweller. Not bad at all.

2018 BMW i3s from the 2017 IAA

Inside the BMW i3s (2017 IAA)

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44 responses to "BMW i3s Makes World Debut In Frankfurt"

  1. L'amata says:

    BMW will Not STOP! beating dead horses . They’re shoving those “i cars” down the consumers’ throats by making insignificant & fruitless changes ..it is what it is! Give it Up ! Start with a clean sheet of paper & give the people what they want,AND! Lower that stupid High Price!!! ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

    1. F150 Brian says:

      The great think about a free market is that companies can offer whatever they want, and the consumer can choose what they buy (which is very far from any company shoving any product down anybody’s throat).

      If you don’t want it, move along and focus on what you do want. And in the process, spare us the drivel.

      1. L'amata says:

        Thanks Albert….

    2. mx says:

      This i3S is going to kill many Porsche’s in the city/suburbs, while being Far More Fun to Drive.

      Of course, it won’t beat it at Watkins Glen, at least this year.

    3. mx says:

      BMW’s delay of the “i5” until 2020 is what you’re talking about.
      You know, sometimes you have to let companies fail in Capitalism.

    4. Viking79 says:

      The people that buy the i3 love it. I will most likely buy one as well, but not new. The price is high for me now, but the i3s with range extender would be great for me.

    5. WadeTyhon says:

      “They’re shoving those “i cars” down the consumers’ throats by making insignificant & fruitless change”

      Or maybe people are buying the ‘ i ‘ cars because they want one and are not being forced to do anything.

      Crazy thought, I know. 😉

      I would prefer if the BMWs had longer range so other than the i3 Rex they don’t interest me. But I don’t have a fit over other people buying them… it is what it is!

      Whatever point you are trying to make is undercut by yelling and screaming nonsense in all caps.

      So ENOUGH ALREADY, with tHE Screaming!!!?!

      1. ffbj says:

        It’s a stylistic choice, and you don’t have to read it. But it is an unfortunate one.

      2. L'amata says:

        Did my caps upset you??? sorry about that ., Go ahead & buy one or even two. Don’t yell at me ..lol

        1. WadeTyhon says:

          Lol it is a huge internet etiquette petpeeve of mine. It makes a post difficult to read and makes it look antagonistic even before it has been read. So does the use of multiple !!! and ???

          As for an i3, I’m not gonna buy one or two! I am very happy with our Bolt and Volt… and soon will be happy with a Model 3. 😀

          But I test drove an i3 before getting our Volt and very much enjoyed it. If GM didnt have the Spark and Volt available when i bought my first EV, I would have picked up a used i3 over a Leaf without much debate.

        2. Kjohnsson says:

          I own and drive a BMW i3. I absolutely love it. It is fast, handles well, and turns on a dime. Instant acceleration response at any speed. Easy one pedal driving for 99% of my drives. For local around town driving it is the absolutely perfect vehicle. Yes, I wish that the range was longer. I suspect that nearly anyone that drove an electric car such as this one for an extended period of time would fall in love with it. It is so quiet and smooth compared to a vibrating noisy internal combustion engine car. It is clear, at least to me, that this is the future of Transportation.

    6. EndResult says:

      So if you hate the i3 price, what do you say about Tesla? And please do not go off about the $35k vaporware version that no one can buy.

      1. Get Real says:

        Hey look, another one of our existing serial anti-Tesla trolls has registered under a new username just to…post more of their whiney, repetitive anti-Tesla FUD.

        Why, because they are so insecure they want to make their FUD seem like its coming from more people then it really is.

        1. Tom says:

          I see Donnie Two Scoops has a new username.

      2. L'amata says:

        I’ve previously owned BMW’s ..I don’t Like BMW or what they’re about., They are the worst expensive cars on the planet and a massive brain wash. Nothing more.

      3. L'amata says:

        I don’t hate anyone or anything , It’s just not car company or car of choice.

  2. James says:

    So now you can spend $60,000 for the BMW nameplate on the hood and get Bolt performance with only 128 less miles of AER?

    Such a deal! 🙂

    1. mx says:

      What kind of primitive suspension did they bolt on the Bolt again?

      No, Best Wishes with Bolt sales, but, it’s not in the same league.

      1. Viking79 says:

        The i3 is a great car, but about $20k overpriced in the current market. Nicer interior than the Bolt EV, but the motor performance is well short of the Bolt EV, and the Bolt EV handfles fairly well. I personally would pay slightly more for an i3 vs Bolt EV, but not $20k.

      2. bogdan says:

        Actually, none of these two are intended either as race cars, nore as limos!
        BMW has the better suspension, material quality, but the Bolt has its advantages, power, range, space, etc
        Range is the most important and critical feature of a BEV! At least if you intend to use it as a work horse and not as a toy for the weekend and sunny days…

    2. WadeTyhon says:

      I imagine If you live in Europe its a heckuva deal considering the Ampera-e has very limited availability there right now! But yeah, being in the states, I picked up a Bolt and it was a no brainer.

      An i3 Rex is a good car. I would buy a GM or Tesla first but the i3 Rex is more useful and fun to drive than most other EVs.

  3. Simon says:

    Just what the world needs. A sportier, more expansive version of an already very sporty, overpriced city car

    1. mx says:

      But, there’s on “Parking Anxiety”, the i3 will fit into any parking space out there, except for a Smart Car. So, that is real relief in the city.

  4. John says:

    Hahaha! These car manufacturers aren’t getting it. They think they can artificially suppress the speed of technology advances at a 1980’s pace while every single day companies like Tesla are doing the exact opposite. They think all they have to do is re-bling and re-package their same garbage and the rest of us will skip the Model 3’s and Bolts to simply buy a badge.

    Hey BMW, wake up and realize the EV crowd are looking more at specs than appearance- save your pig lipstick for the ICE masses…

    1. ffbj says:

      It’s a good point, and puts the lie to their protestations that they are coming for Tesla.
      Example: the 2018 Leaf.

    2. DJ says:

      You mean like how Tesla did with their dual motors, ludicrous mode, bigger batteries, glass roof, etc..?

      I don’t understand how people can be so blind to the fact that they praise one company for doing something yet bash another company for doing the same thing…

  5. WARREN says:

    Well you won’t get a cheap hard plastic econobox interior, crude suspension, and torque steer for your money either. I have driven them all, the BMW feels sportier already. This version is going to give an even more precision and fun driving experience. Hope it is available for order in the US soon.

    1. James says:

      Did you miss the Autocar write-up where a $17,000 Mitsubishi economic beat the i3 around a race course by 8 seconds?

      Skinny wheels, stiff suspension and tall structure, even with the low center of gravity of the pack under the floor makes it so.

      i3 and performance are an oxymoron. It’s relatively quick to 60 mph vs. other commuter EVs like LEAF and Soul EV, but at $15-20,000 premium.

      As for your assertions of good handling dynamics, the only thing that you said that was correct was that i3 feels nimble. Numbers don’t lie. Autocar testers rwalized i3 felt nimble at first, yet kater they typified the car as twitchy sensitive, and taking effort to stay on center – which can feel fun and zippy…say changing lanes or directions, but tiring and problematic when you want to just drive and relax. i3 is no sports car not sporty car.

      These are fact.i3 and BMW fans can argue until the cows come home.

      As i3’s suspension is already stiff, making it stiffer seems unwise. Wider wheels just reduce range and efficiency. Seems nuts when folks put rubber band thin sidewalls on cars which results in harsh ride, and call that high performance.

      This is no hot hatch.

      1. James says:

        Pls delete this post if you can, please. I corrected it below.

        – Thanks, James

        1. franky_b says:

          Always amazed me how good you are to refer to other people experience, never yours..

          oh wait.. that’s right, you don’t have any EV. You just like bashing the i3.

      2. franky_b says:

        Oh James, James, James…

        The i3 is still one the most efficient car on the road, those that recently did better did it at the price of performance. That’s after 4 years. BMW must have done something right.

        The car is nimble and if you prefer to have a loose centre and not responsive wheel, go get an old Cadillac. I drive my i3 for hours to do round trip on the highway, no fatigue and seat are very comfortable. Contrary to you, I can talk by experience.

        I don’t do race car, I don’t do drag racing either. I drive in the city and this car is fun to drive in and out of traffic. Quick off the light/stop, easy to get of highway ramp on to the highway and still have plenty left to take over on the highway.

        I’m so tired of seeing coming here being negative… for a man with no experience with the i3… you do have a lot to say… wait scratch that… not that much to say, since you always repeat the same things over and over and over again.

        1. Tony Marco says:

          +1 franky_b ….. You said it Best !

          I love my i3 Rex whether I drive in the city or for long commutes and with the ability to quick charge for free in 20 minutes at numerous spots! LOVIN IT !!!

          The i3 is the perfect fit for me and it seems for many others as well !!!

    2. James says:

      Did you miss the Autocar write-up where a $17,000 Mitsubishi economic beat the i3 around a race course by 8 seconds?

      Skinny wheels, stiff suspension and tall structure, even with the low center of gravity of the pack under the floor makes it so.

      i3 and performance are an oxymoron. It’s relatively quick to 60 mph vs. other commuter EVs like LEAF and Soul EV, but at $15-20,000 premium.

      As for your assertions of good handling dynamics, the only thing that you said that was correct was that i3 feels nimble. Numbers don’t lie. Autocar testers realized i3 felt nimble at first, yet later they typified the car as twitchy sensitive, and taking effort to stay on center – which can feel fun and zippy…say changing lanes or directions, but tiring and problematic when you want to just drive and relax. i3 is no sports car nor sporty car.

      These are facts.i3 and BMW fans can argue until the cows come home.

      As i3’s suspension is already stiff, making it stiffer seems unwise. Wider wheels just reduce range and efficiency. Seems nuts when folks put rubber band thin sidewalls on cars which results in harsh ride, and call that high performance.

      This is no hot hatch. Far overpriced. Nice interior though, four 4, not 5 occupants. Silly, stupid rear doors.

      In all, I only like i3 as It’s an EV. Black colored ones look OK as it covers up the weird design elements.

  6. Paul says:

    What puzzles me is the sport suspension. Its already as hard as rock as it is

  7. Warren says:

    Besides driving them all, (except the Model 3), I have owned the LEAF, Focus EV, and now on my 4th i3. (I currently have two). Considered getting the new Bolt till I sat in it, and drove in it. Its off my list, unless they give one to me. Unless something more compelling comes up, besides having to wait in line for a $56K model 3 with no incentives, my next car will most likely be another i3. Compared to the Model 3, the i3 will still be much more easier to maneuver and park in tight city streets, and has a convenient hatchback form factor. Not to mention I still have a hard time getting used to the plain interior of the Model 3 devoid of the many fascinating textures and higher quality materials in the i3.

    I am kind of intrigued by the new LEAF. I think it is much better looking inside/out than the Bolt, and I liked how practical my last LEAF was (minus the battery degradation). However, I’m quite certain the i3 is immensely more nimble, sporty, and quicker than the new LEAF will be.

    1. franky_b says:

      I’m a the same place as you. For pretty much the same reasons.

      I’m also looking forward to the Kona and what will BMW come up with in 2019.

      Love my 2014 i3, I drive over 90% all electric. 100% electric in the city. Not bad considering this is my only car.

  8. HVACman says:

    re: BMW bashing. Did anyone here watch the Munro video of the Bolt tear down and analysis available on this forum?. The Munro techs had already torn down and analyzed an i3. They shared their opinion of the tech inside the BMW while discussing the Bolt. They raved that the i3 was the most technically-advanced and best-engineered EV in the world, even though it is not a range or HP leader.

    Forget not that Chevy Volt lead engineer Frank Weber jumped to BMW to electrify their products. Marginalize BMW’s EV efforts at your peril.

    https://www.autoblog.com/2011/04/11/bmw-hires-frank-weber-lead-engineer-chevy-volt/

    (And hat-tip to the linked article’s author – Didn’t know you’d been covering the EV-beat for so long, Eric!)

    1. James says:

      I’ve hung around auto magazine journalists. You notice one thing rather quickly. They LOVE their expensive, European wristwatches!

      Breitling, Rolex … They marvel at the craftsmanship and amazing complex watchmaking engineering. Yet each and every one admits they’re old fashioned, unreliable, overpriced and a bit if an embellishment. All if them laughingly admit an $80 Seiko Quartz watch will work better, be cheaper to own, last lots longer and be more reliable.

      So why do they buy them then? The sheer fascination with that watch’s reputation, image and It’s mechanical genius.

      Liken it to the love if British sports cars.

      Does that make them better? Of course not.

      Does Munro’s fascination with i3’s engineering make it a better car to daily drive and own than a LEAF or i3?

      Of course not.

      Value, range and simplicity reign with electric cars.

      These are areas where i3 falls pitifully short.

      1. James says:

        Crrection: better to own than LEAF or BOLT?….

        I’ve got to stop posting from my phone! 😀

        1. franky_b says:

          Or just stop posting?? 🙂

          It’s not like you are really helping/contributing with your usual rambling…

          Still doesn’t own an EV James?

      2. WARREN says:

        Actually, the ultimate grip of the i3 is definitely limited by those narrow eco tires. BUT.. up to the limit of that traction, the i3 is still very responsive, and agile, with great feedback. Its impressive how well the sophisticated suspension allows the i3 to perform DESPITE those tiny tires.

        The firm ride for an enthusiast allows you to feel all the small undulations in the pavement. You are right, to a pure luxury buyer looking for a cushy ride, this is probably not for them. Steer them to one of the many heavy EV offerings with cushy suspensions and numb steering (to nullify their unrefined torque steer).

        So if you are an enthusiast, that actually likes a fun car with tons of road feel (like many BMW buyers) then the i3 is one of the few EVs that offers that for less than 60K. Rear wheel drive, exotic construction, sophisticated suspension, innovative quality interior materials. No car in its class has the turning radius of an i3 except for the iMIEV and perhaps the Smart which are much less powerful, and smaller cars than the i3.

  9. menorman says:

    Good, now they can lower the MSRP of the regular i3.

    1. bogdan says:

      Dream on!
      The price will go higher, or did the inflation turned negative, like deflation?

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