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Sporty Efficiency: 2018 BMW i3 EV

Every automaker has to start somewhere when introducing new technology to the marketplace. It could be said that for BMW, that start coalesced into what became the i3 EV. For 2018, the design of the new BMW i3 and the exclusive first-ever BMW i3s has been altered to enhance the sporty, urban built yet elegant design of the model.

Featuring a wider track, wheel arch molding and design lines that are vastly horizontal, the 2018 BMW i3 models have morphed into a versatile, urban, innovative efficiency mobility vehicle. For the first time, BMW also offers a more powerful and sportier version of the BMW i3 - the BMW i3s, which can also be equipped with a Range Extender. By offering premium-quality, all-electric driving experience, meaning zero emissions and performance, in combination with the latest available connected technology, both model variants represent the future of urban mobility.

The BMW i3 and the more powerful BMW i3s draw their energy from the lithium-ion high-voltage battery developed by the BMW Group with a cell capacity of 94-ampere hours (Ah). The synchronous electric motor powering the new BMW i3 smoothly delivers the kind of performance that drivers expect from a BMW via a single-speed automatic transmission, with continuous power delivery that builds up the car’s speed. The new BMW i3 accelerates from zero to sixty mph in 7.2 seconds with an electronic top speed of 93 mph. The BMW i3s is equipped with a high-output version of the i3 electric motor. At the limits of the motor speed range, the power and torque of the enhanced drive system represent an improvement of up to 40 percent over the BMW i3. The driving dynamics and enhanced e-Driving abilities are significant especially at higher engine speeds when higher performance and higher torque is more noticeable.

A two-cylinder range extender gasoline engine is available as an option for all BMW i3 models. The engine drives a generator that produces power as required to feed electricity to the high-voltage battery, which becomes available whenever necessary. This extends the car’s overall range in everyday use by 87 miles, increasing it to a maximum of 180 miles.

The agile handling characteristics of the BMW i3 have been optimized with the improved Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. This comprehensively revised, faster responding Traction Control system guarantees confident handling under all driving conditions. Traction in less than ideal driving conditions has also been noticeably improved. Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) mode now boosts agility at higher speeds and during sporty cornering, even allowing mild and safely controllable drifts when grip levels are reduced.

The all-new BMW i3s features a sports suspension that includes a 10-millimeter drop in height. Control hardware features a sports suspension with specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Drivers can now also select SPORT mode using the Driving Dynamics Control switch. This initiates more direct accelerator response and tighter steering characteristics to accentuate the car’s sporting edge.

Visually broader high-gloss black wheel arch moldings emphasize an increase of 40 millimeters track width compared to the BMW i3 providing a stable stance and sportier looks. The BMW i3s comes standard with exclusive 20-inch light-alloy wheels in bicolor double-spoke design, which are ½-inch wider than the previously available.

Inside the passenger cabin, the interior styling of the BMW i3 models is rooted in the LifeDrive vehicle architecture. The carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell has a wonderfully spacious feel about it and is dominated by a sense of lightness. The design principle of the two four-seater models means there is no need for either fixed B-pillars or a transmission tunnel. Doors that open in opposite directions allow the occupants to get in and out with the greatest of ease.

The Mega, Giga and Tera World equipment lines are available as alternatives to the standard Deka version. The optional Giga World includes a new trim for the seat surfaces in Giga Brown Natural Leather & Carum Spice Grey Wool Cloth which combines natural leather tanned using an olive leaf extract with a wool-based textile material. The BMW i3 models apply the concept of sustainability throughout, as other materials used are recycled plastics, renewable raw materials, natural fibers and open-pored, unbleached eucalyptus wood.

Over eighty percent of the surfaces visible to the passengers are made from recycled materials or renewable resources. The available seat belts in BMW i Blue for the first ever BMW i3s only, provide a splash of color in the interior. Typical BMW i Brand lettering are also visible on the front floor mats.

Dimensions & specifications
BMW i3
Wheelbase: 101.2; overall length: 158.3; width: 69.9; height: 62.9
BMW i3s
Wheelbase: 101.2; overall length: 158.1; width: 70.5; height: 62.6
All vehicle measurements are in inches.

Engine – AC synchronous electric traction motor – 170 hp/184 lb-ft of torque (i3); high-output AC synchronous electric traction motor – 184 hp/199 lb-ft of torque (i3s); 650 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine (range extender) – 38 hp at 5000 rpm and 41 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm (i3/i3s); and lithium-ion battery pack - 33 kWh.
Transmission: one-speed automatic
EPA Fuel Economy: 129 city/106 hwy. (MPGe)(i3); 126 city/99 hwy. (MPGe)(i3s); with Range Extender – combined - 109 MPGe/35 MPG
Cargo capacity: 36.9 cubic feet

Safety features
Dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, dynamic brake control, cornering brake control, brake fade compensation, start-off assistant, brake drying, brake stand-by, dynamic stability control, dynamic traction control, automatic LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, rear-view camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, engine start/top button, rain sensing windshield wipers, universal garage door opener, advanced vehicle & key memory, comfort access keyless entry, rear park distance control, BMW Assist eCall, and tire pressure monitor.

Optional safety features include front/rear park distance control, parking assistant, ACC stop & go with active driving assistant, navigation system, and ConnectedDrive Services.

Basic: 4-year/50,000 mile
High-Voltage Battery: 8-year/100,000 mile
Corrosion: 12-year/unlimited
Roadside Assistance: 4-year/unlimited

The base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 BMW i3 EV starts from $44,450 for the i3 upto $51,500 for the i3s with Range Extender. Destination charges add $995.

About the Author

Ken Chester, Jr.

Ken Chester, Jr. is President & CEO of Motor News Media Corporation – an automotive news service founded in 1989 as The AutoBuyer Plus Corporation. Featured on numerous television and radio programs, viewers, listeners and readers alike relate to Ken's friendly manner and wealth of information about the many vehicles currently for sale in today's complex automotive marketplace.® is a woman's guide to car shopping.
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