Hotter BMW i3s revealed alongside facelifted i3 EV at Frankfurt

Revised BMW i3 gets improved range, new looks and a hot i3s model capable of 0-62mph in under seven seconds

The facelifted BMW i3 has been officially unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Alongside the revised electric car, BMW has also revealed a hotter i3s version, capable of 0-62mph in less than seven seconds.

While the standard car retains the current i3’s 168bhp electric motor, the i3s is tuned to deliver 181bhp and an extra 20Nm of torque. As with any electric car, those figures are available from standstill, allowing the pure-electric ’s’ model to hit 62mph in 6.9 seconds. The heavier range-extender i3s completes the same sprint in 7.7 seconds.

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The i3s also features lowered sports suspension, as well as specially developed springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. It sits 10mm lower than the normal i3, while the track has been widened by 40mm, too. An optimised DSC stability control system is said to guarantee “confident handling in all driving conditions”, while Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) allows “mild and safe controllable drifts” on cornering.

Visually, the new i3 gets a host of subtle updates to differentiate it from its predecessor. At the front there’s a revised bumper and LED headlights, while the old car’s foglamps have been replaced by LED indicators, surrounded by new C-shaped trim. At the back the changes are harder to spot, with the standard-fit LED lights now complimented by more contrasting colours.

BMW will offer the new i3 with two new metallic paint finishes: Melbourne Red and Imperial Blue. Customers also get a choice of white, black and grey, as well as the existing Protonic Blue – added during last year’s Model Year updates. A silver roofline accent can now be specified, too. The i3s comes with black wheelarch extensions, 20-inch bi-colour alloys, while the bonnet can also be specified in black for a dramatic, two-tone effect.

Inside, the i3’s funky cabin is lifted almost unchanged, with a similar array of eco-friendly materials. Natural leather, recycled plastics and unbleached eucalyptus wood all feature depending on spec, with BMW claiming more than 80 per cent of the visible surfaces are made from renewable or reused sources. Blue seatbelts – a hint to the car’s electric drivetrain – are on the options list.

Elsewhere, BMW has fitted an updated version of its familiar iDrive system, with all cars now featuring the brand’s 10.25-inch display and Professional navigation system. Voice recognition has been optimised, and Apple CarPlay is available, along with an expanded list of BMW i ConnectedDrive apps.

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Overall range gets a boost, with the standard i3 capable of 187 miles on a full charge. The i3s manages 174 miles, though numbers for the REx versions haven’t yet been published. CO2 emissions for the i3 and i3s REx models stand at 13g/km and 15g/km respectively.

In addition to the improved range, owners can now charge their i3 faster. The standard charging cable has been optimised to allow the car to add 112 miles of EV range in just three hours using a BMW i Wallbox. As before, you can control the charging process from an app on your smartphone.

Prices for the i3 have risen by around £1,000, meaning a basic i3 EV now costs £34,070, or £29,570 after you’ve applied the government’s plug-in car grant. The i3s costs from £32,475, while the i3s REx starts from £35,625 (both after the PICG).

Are you excited by the arrival of an updated BMW i3? Let us know what you think of it - and the i3s - in the comments...

Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the our team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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