The development of the i-series by BMW was a step by the German automotive giant towards a cleaner, greener future for the company. First introduced at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the i3 went into production in 2013 and quickly became the world’s best selling all-electric.
Yes, the i3, as opposed to the i8 which is a PHEV, is an all-electric car and the first zero emissions vehicle to be launched by BMW. The i3S is the sportier, more powerful version of this all-electric hatchback. The good news, you ask? The i3S is all set to release in India by the end of summer next year and we just cannot contain our excitement.
The i3S is compact, fun to drive and has all the power you need to zip through the streets. The i3S has a quirky design, with copper accents, jet black 20” double-spoke wheels and tail lights being built into the glass of the tailgate. The construction of the chassis is light as well; the passenger module being built largely from Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic. What this has allowed to do to the design of the i3S is to eliminate the B-pillar between the front and the rear doors. As a result, the coach doors are hinged at the rear end and thus open backwards, which might make it easier to get in. It also ensures continuity between the windows at the front and the rear, thereby enhancing the view. There’s just one downside to this design and could potentially be a deal breaker for many as well, that the rear window cannot be rolled down.
As for the interiors, there’s ample room and the seating is comfortable. The dashboard looks pretty neat as well, especially in the case of white interiors. The interesting part about the interiors though, is that according to BMW, almost 80% of the materials used in the cabin are eco-friendly, right from the olive leaf tanned leather to the eucalyptus wood finish. The rear seat is foldable, extending the boot space from close to 425 litres to about 1045 litres.
As for what’s under the hood, the zippy i3S is powered by a 181hp AC Synchronous Electric Motor and a 42 kWh / 120 Ah Lithium Ion battery pack tucked away neatly under the passenger seats. The trickle down charging isn’t exactly impressive and you’ll need an entire night of charging to be able to get a decent amount of juice back into the batteries. The regenerative braking works well though and the i3S has a range of more than 245km on a single charge, so you won’t exactly have to worry about finding a charging station unless you’re planning a road trip. The 50kW DC points available at charging stations can charge the batteries close to 80% of its total capacity in a mere 40 minutes.
For those worrying about running out of juice and getting stranded, the i3S is also available with the option of a Range Extender (REx), which is basically an extra 647cc 2-cylinder engine powered by a 9 litre petrol tank that acts as a generator to produce electricity once the battery levels drop below a certain point. The Rex version of the i3S can achieve a range of 320 km on a single charge, putting it in the league of the big toys. The price tag of the BMW i3S could be a little on the pricier end, with the showroom price coming close to anywhere between ₹45 lakh to ₹50 lakh. As for those who enjoy a powerful hatchback that’s eco-friendly and can be parked in the tightest of spaces, no price is too high to pay for the i3S.