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BMW i3s unveiled ahead of Frankfurt 2017 debut


BMW will use the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show to debut an upgraded version of its electric i3, dubbed the i3s. The i3s is a sportier version of the i3, and utilises an upgraded drivetrain for added performance and continues BMW’s quest for luxury car market dominance by upgrading every model in its lineup.

BMW has also taken the opportunity to upgrade the standard i3, with the uprated 33kWh battery pack (and therefore extended range) now featuring in the standard model. The range extender model with a 28kW two-cylinder petrol engine to extend the car’s range continues as optional.

According to BMW, the i3 “shows the way ahead to a new era of mobility. It is recognised the world over as a symbol of driving pleasure, sustainability and intelligent connectivity in the urban traffic environment, which is why it has become the best-selling electric car in the premium compact segment.”

Instead of being multiple i3 models, the i3s is the sportier edition to the i3 range with BMW citing demand for sportier electric cars as the reason for creating the i3s. Using an uprated battery and favouring sportiness over range, the i3s produces both more power and torque with 135kW and 270Nm on offer – an increase of 10kW and 20Nm respectively from the same 33kWh battery pack as the standard i3.

Despite drawing more power from the battery pack, the i3s doesn’t stray too far from the standard car’s claimed driving range, with BMW claiming a possible maximum range of anywhere from 200km in normal driving up to 280km in certain conditions – BMW cites 20 degrees, with no traffic in constant motion with the air-conditioning turned off as the optimum driving conditions.

BMW claims that the i3s is capable of a 0-100km/h sprint in just 6.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 160km/h – that’s 0.8 seconds and 10km/h faster than the standard model. The i3s is recognisable by its sportier front and rear bumper treatment and its 20mm-wider wheels. In fact, the i3s’ track is now 40mm wider than before, and its sports suspension setup allows the car to ride 10mm lower.

Like the standard i3 model, the i3s is available in the REX range extender form, combining a 28kW two-cylinder petrol engine and the standard electric motor to give the i3s an extended range. The engine allows the i3 to be driven further afield than the standard i3, and is helpful in reducing range anxiety. With the range extender on board, the i3s’ range increases to 300km in everyday driving, and reduces performance by 0.8 seconds for a 0-100km/h sprint in 7.7 seconds. The i3s’ top speed remains the same, at 160km/h.

BMW has also used the debut of the i3s to reveal changes to the standard i3 range, including the upgrading of the standard battery to the 33kWh unit, which was a recently added option to the i3 range. This gives the i3 a range of up to 300km on a single charge.

The i3 range has also been given more standard equipment as well, with all-LED lighting now standard equipment as well as the addition of the latest iDrive 6 infotainment system, with optional Apple CarPlay – though no Android Auto as yet – and an optional iDrive Professional system with a higher-resolution screen. The i3’s range of available colours and trims have been revised to include new options to keep the car fresh.

The upgraded BMW i3 and i3s will start production in November of this year with Australian devliery times unconfirmed but taking an educated guess, we’d say that the first half of 2018 would be all but locked in.

Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for news regarding the BMW i3s, and the other debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2017.