BMW makes EVs sporty

BMW i3 and i3s, 2017, front, action
BMW i3s, 2017, front
BMW i3s, 2017, rear
BMW i3s, 2017, interior
BMW i3s, 2017, badge
BMW i3, 2017, front
BMW i3, 2017, rear
BMW i3, 2017, interior
BMW i3, 2017, display screen

WITH sales of electric vehicles on the rise BMW is revamping its i3 hatchback which has already become Britain's best-selling premium compact EV.

The model continues to be available in both pure battery and range extender set ups and now includes LED headlights and upgraded satellite navigation as standard.

Prices start from £34,070 for the i3 EV and £37,220 for the range extender - which is fitted with a petrol engine for added range - an increase of some £3,000.

BMW is also bolstering the range with the introduction of sportier i3s models costing from £36,975 and £40,125 respectively.

The newcomers will have their world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and are due for release in November.

Since the i3 was launched four years ago BMW has sold more than 8,000 in the UK and the market for EVs is on the rise with sales bucking the current trend and increasing month by month.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that while sales of diesel and petrol cars fell in July, so-called alternative fuel vehicles - which include electric cars - soared 64.9 per cent to 8,871 units, a record 5.5 per cent share of the new car market.

The new i3 line up uses the same 33kWh power pack as before which gives the pure EV model a 0 to 60 acceleration of 7.3 seconds and a ‘real world' range of around 125 miles on a single charge.

For the i3s BMW has tweaked the power output up from 170 horsepower to 184 without affecting the range.

That results in a livelier 0 to 60 time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 99mph, up from the 93mph of the standard i3.

BMW has also revised the suspension set up on the i3s, lowering the ride height by about half an inch and the car is also fitted with a Sports mode which sharpens throttle response.

The range extender versions, which are fitted with a 38hp two cylinder petrol engine in addition to the electric motor, are not quite as quick under acceleration but are capable of travelling for more than 200 miles without refuelling.

As with all EVs the i3 is emission free and the range extenders are rated at between 13 and 15g/km which equates to a theoretical fuel figure of more than 400mpg.

Styling changes on the new models are subtle and include new-look front and rear aprons and an added chrome strip across the tailgate.

The new sat nav and communications system on board the i3 includes advanced connectivity offering features such as live on-street parking information. It is also Apple compatible which allows full i-Phone integration.

BMW is also making the latest i3 available with a new charging system which includes a new domestic wallbox and an uprated charging cable.

Together they enable the car to be recharged in under three hours - five times faster than with a standard cable.

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