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BMW adds a performance version of its electric i3 for 2018

Richard Lawler

For 2018 BMW is lightly reworking the style that made us call its i3 "a long-range concept car you can actually buy" and it's expanding the lineup with the i3s. A new performance version, it upgrades the standard i3's 170 horsepower / 184 pound-feet of torque electric motor to a high-output version capable of 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. A sports suspension drops the i3s 10mm lower, widens its track by 40mm, and connects to new 20-inch rims.

It also has a special Sport driving mode with "more direct accelerator response and tighter steering characteristics." All of that makes the i3s capable on 0 - 6 MPH in 6.8 seconds, with a 100 MPH top speed. Outside, both the i3 and i3s have new styling tweaks all around to make the car appear wider and match the company's trademark BMW i Black Belt design.

(BMW i3s)

Slightly more important however are the changes to charging, as part of its "360° ELECTRIC" package. The new TurboCord EV Charger is a $500 accessory that works with both cars. BMW claims it's the "smallest, lightest UL-listed portable charger available," ready for Level 1 charging from any regular 120V outlet, as well as 3.6kW charging from 240V outlets, which is 3x as fast as a standard cable.

(BMW i3s)

Features like the gas-powered range extender, ConnectedDrive, iDrive 6 and Apple CarPlay are still around, although there's a higher resolution 1,440 x 540 10-inch touchscreen available with the Professional navigation package. The cars will make their debut next month at the Frankfurt Motor show, while pricing info will be revealed later.

BMW