Next year could witness a sizeable update to BMW’s line of quirky but forward-thinking i3 electric city car. But as with many of these mid-life refreshes - or Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) in BMW lingo - the these weigh heavier on the under-the-skin alterations.
For one thing, the already lightweight and rather recyclable carbon fibre reinforced polymer structure will have even more grams shaved off. Something that would improve agility and range for all variants, but will be of particular benefit to a rumoured sporty i3S variant, building upon the improvements of last year’s i3 94Ah model.
Since the introduction of the mid-engine i8 hybrid sports car, the i3 has been happily left to fill in the opposite side of electric car buying spectrum, one that doesn’t need to get their blood flowing with fast acceleration and flat high-speed cornering.
Pictured here is the i3 Concept Coupe from 2012.
Not anymore, it seems, as the i3S could boast a 0-100km/h time of around 6 seconds (the current i3’s 7.3 seconds isn’t bad either) thanks to a more powerful rear-mounted electric motor. Paired with the chassis improvements that BMW engineers are no doubt itching to implement, and we could have quite a potent little hatch on our hands in the near future, albeit one that wouldn’t emit any harmful gasses into the atmosphere.
It’s not clear, though, whether the i3S would be made available with the range-extender motor to top up the battery in low-charge situations. Since we don’t know, our assumption that it will be a zero emissions hot hatch stands for now.
Minor styling changes are expected to come along with the i3 LCI, and a more aggressive exterior treatment is a given for the S. Both are due to make their first in-person appearance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in the third quarter of the year.
A batch of new i3s were spotted undergoing winter testing in Scandinavia recently with camouflage applied to much of the car’s bottom half, indicating a revised front and rear fascia, possibly incorporating more of the i8’s cues. Besides that, the i3 should retain the original’s overall shape and style.
Inside, new infotainment system is due for the new i3 while the floor-mounted batteries are said to be more energy dense, reportedly able to propel the car beyond 320km before needing a full recharge.