BMW i3 updated with new batteries and options

BMW’s electric i3 benefits from increased range and more options

BMW has updated the i3 with an improved battery pack and new trim options.

The rating of the battery used by the i3 and i3s has gone up from 33kWh to 42kWh, meaning both models are capable of going further on a single charge than before.

The standard 168bhp i3 now claims a range of 193 miles, an improvement of 34 miles, while the 181bhp i3s can now manage 177 miles on a single charge, which is up from 152 miles.

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The new battery takes 15 hours to charge from 0-80% on a normal three-pin plug. This time shortens to just over three hours with an 11kW BMW wallbox, while a 50kW rapid charger will give the battery the same charge in 42 minutes.

If you’d like the sporty look of the i3s without its more powerful electric motor, BMW has introduced a Sports Package for the standard model, which includes the wider track, lower sports suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Buyers can also choose from some new paint colours, including a beige and a grey, new upholstery colours and adaptive LED headlights.

BMW i3s: performance and handling

Both i3 models have the same electric motors as before, so performance is unchanged. The BMW i3s puts out 181bhp, which is enough to send it from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, compared to 7.3 seconds for the standard i3.

The i3s also features tuned sports suspension so the car sits 10mm lower to the ground for improved handling and reduced body lean. BMW has also tweaked the i3’s electronic safety settings for the i3s, and says it’s now capable of “controlled drifting” when provoked. A Sport mode also features, sharpening the accelerator and steering responses when selected.

Marking the i3s out aesthetically from the standard car are 20-inch two-tone alloy wheels, while options for the i3s include jet black alloys for those who favour a little more road presence.

A Range Extender (REx) version of the i3s is also offered, and this takes 7.7 seconds to go from 0-62mph. It adds a small petrol engine between the rear wheels that acts as a generator for the batteries, helping to alleviate much of the range anxiety that burdens some electric car owners.

New BMW i3 price and on sale date

The new i3 range will be available to buy in Europe in November but exact prices have yet to be announced. The standard i3 currently costs £34,070, though the Government’s plug-in grant brings that down to £29,570. The REx is currently available from £37,220, or £32,475 after grant.

The faster i3s is £36,975, or £32,475 after grant. Adding the Range Extender package to the i3s pushes its price up to £40,125, or £35,625 once the plug-in grant is taken into account.

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