For the first time ever, BMW is offering a sportier variant of the i3, something fans have been clamoring for since it debuted in 2014. The new BMW i3S should bring quite a few fans of the brand over to the electric dark side, thanks to its sportier dynamics. In terms of actually sporty differences, the BMW i3S gets some more power, 184 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque versus the standard car’s 170 hp and 184 lb-ft. That extra power helps it get form 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, four tenths faster. It also gets a lower, wider suspension, to increase handling dynamics.
Fans of BMW typically want as sporty of handling as they can possibly get. The lack of sportiness might have turned some fans off of the original BMW i3. Now, though, the BMW i3S might attract some new customers. But does its looks match its sporty upgrades?
Compared to the standard BMW i3, the new i3S is a touch sportier. That lower, wider suspension and wheel-track make it look more aggressive and more squat. It has a much better stance and seems more like a BMW. But aside from the mechanical differences, it does get a few differences in trim. So the front bumper is black on the i3S, rather than body color. The wheel arches are also black, rather than body color. Both of these add some sporty contrast that makes it look a bit more interesting. But it can also be a bit much.
Also, that silver trim that runs the length of the roof on the standard car is black. It looks much better in black, even if it doesn’t make it look any different from the pre-LCI car. But it looks better than the silver streak of hair that the new standard i3 seemingly has.
Inside, there are no differences. The BMW i3 and i3S are identical on the inside, which is a bit disappointing. I was hoping for maybe an M Sport-style steering wheel, with possibly three-spokes. You don’t want M Sport in an i Division product but a steering wheel with the same width and design of the i3’s just with three spokes would go a long way to making the cabin seem sportier. It does get “i3S” badges on the carpets, to let you know which car you’re in. But those seem too little too late.
From the outside, the BMW i3S is different enough to distinguish it from the standard car. That’s mostly thanks to its lower, wider suspension but it’s enough to make it look cooler and more exciting. While the cabin is basically identical, the exterior is different enough. This could bring some new customers to the car and into the EV world.