Ever since I first tried the BMW i3 in 2015 I felt that BMW cornered a pretty special place in the electric car market place. Afterall, this was one of the first cars to change the way that people, myself included, viewed electric vehicles. Although the first BMW i3 was immensely fun to drive, the sales figures were fairly flat for what I believed was a breakthrough car. With a new face-lifted version of the BMW i3 and the sportier i3 S now out in the market place, what does this car now offer in terms of driving experience?
The BMW i3s is the newest addition to the i3 family and just as much fun to drive as its predecessor …. but so much more! Some call it the long-awaited sporty evo from the the makers of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” brand that is BMW. 0-60mph in an impressive 6.8 seconds makes this small car feel incredibly fierce along with being responsive. With a range of 174 miles, there has been a 70 mile improvement on the range of the first BMW i3. The good news continues with its approx 180 minutes to fully charge.
On initial inspection the 2018 BMW i3s has a more sporty look with a slightly lower and wider stance, full LED lights, rear spoiler, re-profiled bumpers, black wheel-arch surrounds and larger 20 inch wheels as standard. Then there are the pillar-less suicide doors …. these are the Marmite of the car for sure …. you either love them or hate them. Although the i3 as a car is still viewed by many as looking a bit strange on the outside, it is in interior that it really shines.
When it comes to the interior there has not been too much of a change ….which is good news as it remains to be brilliantly spacious and uncluttered inside. The conscious lifestyle side of me is still a fan of the carbon fibre, natural wood, sheep wool and leather interior. With a choice of recycled fabric or natural leather, the seats remain one of the most comfy I have tried in this segment of the market, albeit with not with too much side support.
When it comes to the dashboard the 10.25 inch iDrive6 infotainment system is relatively intuitive to use, and a natural step up from its predecessor. For those of you who like an add-on or two, there are some great add-ons including active park assist, Harmon Kardon surround audio system, Apple Carplay, adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency breaking.
The up shot!
The BMW i3s is a seriously quick, spirited car which includes the much asked for sport mode which was missing from previous models. Is it the evo hot hatch that the market has been waiting for? Perhaps falling a little short from that title however the i3s is great fun to drive and is without doubt a modern looking and high quality city commuter car. For me this is a great second car. Starting just shy of £37,000 before taking off your government grant this electric vehicle is at the upper end of the price scale. Range Extender (REX) is also available.
Low running costs
Spacious and high quality interior
Loads of fun to drive!
Noisy on open road
Shorter range than competitors
5th Seat …. there is none