BMW took the wraps off a refreshed i3 ahead of the Frankfurt motor show, revealing a gently updated EV that will replace a model that’s been on sale since 2013. Bavaria’s wee EV keeps its overall shape — which is why it doesn’t look obviously different in the photos below — but will be joined by a more powerful if not significantly sportier i3s powered by a higher-output electric motor producing 184 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. The base model, meanwhile, will keep its 170-hp and 184 lb-ft output.
The i3s model will set itself apart from the base i3 with a sport suspension dropped by a modest 0.3 inches, high-gloss black grille surrounds, roof accents and bumper inlays in addition to unique front and rear aprons. The revised suspension will feature specially developed dampers, springs and anti-roll bars, but perhaps more noticeable will be the exclusive 20-inch light-alloy wheels and a track widened by 1.5 inches. The i3s will serve up a slightly quicker sprint from 0 to 60 mph of 6.8 seconds, compared to 7.2 seconds on the base i3, and a higher top speed of 100 mph for a (purely) theoretically faster urban commute. Just like the base model, the i3s will be offered with a range extender that will bump the maximum “everyday use” range from 97 miles to a maximum of 180 miles.
BMW tweaked a few things on both models when it comes to the interior, with the 2018 BMW i3 featuring an updated 10.25-inch i ConnectedDrive screen with an increased resolution of 1,440 × 540 pixels if buyers opt for the Navigation system Professional. This system features updated voice recognition technology as well as the new On-Street Parking Information search service, which informs drivers of the best locations to find a parking spot, as well as an outlined boundary of the i3’s real-time range displayed on a map.
When it comes to colors and options Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic will join the palette, in addition to a new interior cloth-leather trim combo called Giga Brown Natural Leather & Carum Spice Grey Cloth.
BMW will display the updated i3 and i3s at the Frankfurt motor show in a matter of days, but the i model that fans of hybrids sportier than the i3s will be looking for is the i8 Roadster, which won’t make its worldwide debut until the LA auto show in November.