Mention electric vehicle and chances are words like fun, sporty and style don’t spring to mind. Known more for their green rather than keen credentials, an electric car is only as good as its earth and cost saving qualities right?
Not if the new BMW i3s has anything to say about it. Building on the merits of the BMW i3 – a firm TopGear Singapore fave – the i3s, which is expected to arrive in Singapore in Q2 2019, features a sports handling package to deliver enhanced driving dynamics.
Shattering all preconceived notions of what an electric vehicle should be, the i3s doesn’t just raise the bar, it sets the standard by which all other all-electric city runabouts are judged when it comes to form, function and fun.
To differentiate itself from the standard i3, the i3s features restyled exterior aesthetics to underscore its sporty persona.
The trademark BMW i ‘Black Belt’ that runs from the bonnet over the roof to the car’s rear is finished in a luxurious black gloss; the front bumper apron has been restyled and is also finished in black.
To complete its menacing makeover, the i3s comes with black wheel arch extensions, which gives it more aggression and attitude.
As a car of the future, the i3 is built with state-of-the-art materials and construction methods. The car’s chassis is made from lightweight aluminum, while the occupant module is constructed from high-strength and ultra-lightweight Carbonfibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) to provide the perfect combination of weight, stiffness and safety.
In line with BMW’s holistic approach and its emphasis on the responsible use of resources, 25 per cent of the car’s interior is made from renewable raw materials and recycled plastics, while a further 25 per cent of its exterior is made from recycled plastics.
Not content with just turning heads, the i3s’ overall power has been upped by 14bhp to 184bhp, and it will dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.9secs. However, it is the 3.7secs it takes to blitz from 0-60km/h that will bring shock and awe to other ‘regular’ cars once the lights turn from red to green.
Ultimately, it is the manner in which the electric motor delivers its power that will astonish EV newbies. Typical of electric motors is the i3s’ punchy, prodigious propulsion the moment you get on the throttle – no lag, no waiting, it just goes, and don’t be surprised to leave more overt ICE sportscars in its wake as you get the jump on them.
Power is nothing without control, and underneath the lightweight, motorsports-inspired CFRP chassis of the i3s sits a specially-tuned sports suspension, so you have a car that relishes going round corners as much as it does powering out of them.
Combine the stiffness of the CFRP chassis and a low centre of gravity and you have a car that can switch from haute to ‘hot’ hatchback in the blink of an eye.
The best bit about the i3s’ newfound performance and handling prowess is that it does not come at the expense of the environment or driving range.
Although the car’s cell capacity has increased to 120Ah and a gross energy content of 42.2kWh, its physical size remains unchanged.
This means a significantly enhanced range of 260km – an increase of almost 30km compared to the first generation model. More power, more range – the i3s is proof that you can enjoy the best of both worlds and still have fun doing it.
Taking that detour to tackle your favourite stretch of twisty tarmac from the supermarket has never been so tempting.