When the BMW i3 first debuted, it only packed around 81 miles or pure electric range. Frankly that wasn’t even great when it was new, back in 2014. However, it looked like nothing else on the road, featured a carbon fiber passenger cell and was so very different from every other car, electric or otherwise, that had come before it. Now, though, its charms are slowly becoming incapable of helping customers overlook its range, or lack thereof, especially with competitors like the Chevy Bolt capable of 200 miles for less money.
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So BMW updated the battery to 94Ah, giving it 114 miles of range and it’s now updating it again, giving it a 120Ah battery, capable of 153 miles of range.
The mid-cycle refresh of the BMW i3, which is what brought along the 94Ah battery, was only about a year ago. So it’s surprising that BMW is updating the i3 yet again. Admittedly, this update is more about its battery than anything else. There are some visual tweaks here and there but there’s no mistaking this update as much more than a battery upgrade.
This update is for the standard BMW i3, the i3 REx, the i3S and i3S Rex, so all models will get a higher-density battery and some new features.
At 153 miles of range, the new BMW i3 is still lacking in range when compared to most of its competitors. The Chevy Bolt can do 200 miles for cheaper, as previously mentioned, and the Tesla Model 3 crushes it. Still, it’s more than before and far more than enough for most customers. So it’s perfectly capable of being a daily driver for the majority of American customers.
On top of the higher-density battery, the BMW i3 120Ah also gets a couple of visual tweaks, both inside and out. Up front, new LED headlights are with cornering lights and adaptive high beams are available. While BMW’s new iDrive 6.0 is now as-standard, where it used to be an option. It also gets an optional WiFi hotspot and wireless charging for capable mobile phones, another first for the i3.
A new color option, Jucaro Beige Metallic, is now available, with the Mega World interior now getting Brown Trim and Mega Carum Spice Grey SensaTec with Brown Cloth highlights. The new colors look good and work well with the funkiness of the BMW i3. On the inside, though, there really isn’t much difference, except for maybe the little “+” signs embossed into the seat backs.
The new BMW i3 120Ah won’t revolutionize the i3 and suddenly make it a world beater. However, it does increase its use and function, allowing more customers to use one everyday. It won’t beat the Telsa Model, or Chevy Bolt for that matter, but it’s certainly better than it was before.