2018 BMW i3s first drive: Indulge your enthusiasm

The BMW i3 has been somewhat polarising since its debut, with big-wheeled, fantastical mobility-pod styling and a luxury-spec price tag. There’s a lot to love about a sporty, high-design, rear-drive, electric vehicle with a BMW badge, but the romance has seemingly been aimed at a very small slice of the EV-buy pie.

With the new BMW i3s – unapologetically aimed at a more “sportiv” audience – the slice would seem to get smaller, but the bite more delicious. 

2018 BMW i3s: First Drive
2018 BMW i3s: First Drive

First impressions

Before we get to the driving pleasure portion, let me say that the whole i3 model line will be better this year than before, because all trims, i3s included, get the once-optional 33.2 kWh, lithium-ion battery pack. That means that the pure electric i3 will have a real-world range of about 124 miles; the plug-in hybrid version with the 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine that functions as a generator for the batteries, gets a range of over 186 miles before you'll have to refill its tiny 9-litre tank. Both more than enough to deal with even city-spec commuting.

BMW specs 80-percent charge times that range from under 40 minutes (on 50-Kilowatt DC fast charging) to 11 hours (on a standard three-pin socket), depending on setup. The company’s preferred situation would be to install the “i Charging Station” in your home, which can deliver 90 miles of range in under three hours (11-kW / 16 amps). Pretty good. 

2018 BMW i3s: First Drive
2018 BMW i3s: First Drive
2018 BMW i3s: First Drive

The i3s definitely looks meaner than the standard i3. With those massive wheels and the body sitti...