As a given generation of any vehicle ages, German companies in particular often spice up the allure of the aging car with new and sportier versions.
Porsche is a master at rolling out new versions of its models across the entire life of a generation, but BMW has learned the trick too.
Thus in the fifth model year for the BMW i3, we have the new 2018 BMW i3s, a higher-performance version of the battery-electric hatchback.
It’s an addition to the lineup of BMW i3 electric-car versions.
For 2017, there were three: battery-powered models with 22- and 33-kilowatt-hour capacities, and a 33-kwh version with a range-extending two-cylinder engine.
Those models had EPA-rated battery ranges of 81, 114, and 97 miles, with the last one—known as the BMW i3 REx—adding an additional 83 miles on gasoline, for a total of 180 miles.
Thus far the EPA hasn’t published 2018 ratings for the i3 lineup, but now we have that information for the new BMW i3s sport model.
Turns out that while it has the larger 33-kwh battery, its range is down slightly (from 114 to 107 miles), and its energy efficiency falls from 118 to 112 MPGe as well.
Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, or MPGe, is a measure of how a car can run electrically on the amount of energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.
The image of a 2018 BMW i3s window sticker (or at least the EPA ratings part) comes from new owners and Green Car Reports contributor Tom Moloughney of New Jersey.
Just days ago, he took delivery of a brand-new black i3s, one of the first in the country to be delivered.
He also took delivery of the first i3 REx sold in the U.S. back in 2014, and covered his three-year tenure with that vehicle for us just before it was wrecked in a crash. (Tom’s OK.)
The new BMW i3s model keeps the same 33-kwh battery pack as last year’s i3 range, but features a revised suspension and a Sport mode added to its drive-mode options.
All 2018 BMW i3 models received some mild styling updates, with full LED headlights as standard.
An updated Version 6.0 of the iDrive interface arrived this year, along with a few new paint color and interior trim options.
Side by side with the standard 2018 BMW i3, you’ll recognize the i3s version by more aggressive front and rear bumpers, and a lower ride height and wider track (by 10 and 40 millimeters, respectively).
Still, sport models are mainly about power. The rear-mounted electric motor in the i3s is rated at 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, against 170 hp and 184 lb-ft for the regular model.
BMW says the i3s is 0.4 seconds faster to 60 mph than the standard car, at 6.8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph, and has a top speed of 100 mph, versus the usual 93 mph.
BMW said it boosted the top-end performance by modifying the motor-control software, quoting a 40-percent boost in output at the motor’s top speed.
The Sport mode added to the standard array of Comfort, Eco Pro, and Eco Pro+ driving options both sharpens the throttle response and tightens the steering.
One i3s option we particularly like are the seat belts in the optional BMW i Blue color, which were first used in the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe.