2018 BMW i3s Review | Asian Car Guide
August 14, 2020

2018 BMW i3s Review

2018 BMW i3s Road Test, Review

BMW i3s front

BMW have two headline electric cars, the battery driven i3 and i8 battery-petrol hybrid, steps into what appears to be the inevitable future of all cars being electrically propelled – i3 a baby SUV, and  i8 a fairly high end sports car – which we intend to review at a later date.

At the moment main buyers are those believing they are doing the right thing replacing polluting cars on the road, and in the case of pure battery cars as against hybrid, which are a bridge on the way to purely electric, are prepared to pay premium prices to pioneer use of electric cars.

Manufacturers sugar the cake by doing their best to make electric cars special, providing radical designs and all of the technology that’s available.

Latest technology is always premium priced until it reaches mass production levels, but there are people prepared to go along with that, taking comfort from pioneering the way.

BMW i3s dashboardThe i3 is unlike a common or garden variety BMW. It has a high snub nose and breaks in the straight lines of usual design, coach doors on the side, front doors opening first before rear ones can open backwards, providing a very wide side opening for easy access.

The cabin is carbon fibre, stronger and lighter than steel, helping both fuel economy and rigidity, which makes better handling.

The area behind the windscreen is recycled plastic, and there is a natural wood and environmentally responsible sourced material in the cabin.

The battery is Lithium-Ion, good for about 200 km. A Tesla might make about 500 km, but costs more at the moment.

For a daily commuter to the city you can basically enjoy this funky, cool looking car and live with the 200 km range figure, expecting to recharge over-night say about every third night, depending on distance from place of work.

The car can of course be recharged at a slower, normal rate from any available power outlet, including at a parking space at work.

For longer drives you will want to plan recharges where necessary and find out where fast recharge stations are, which BMW does have. The new Home chargers take about 3 hours for 80%.

BMW i3s rear

Another alternative is an optional generating motor in the i3, which supplies electricity when batteries are depleted, costing an extra $1,500 and adding 160 kg weight.

With a 9 Litre fuel tank it extends range by about 100 km. Extra containers of fuel would increase that much further.

The power of the latest generation i3S has been increased significantly, handling 0-100 k’s in 6.9 seconds.

Very impressive electric motor acceleration allows powering away from the crowd at traffic lights, overtaking and changing lanes so quickly you will startle drivers in adjacent lanes.

I saw people looking in wonder, I think firstly how different this car looks and stand out, and also how unexpectedly quickly it accelerates.

Our test car, the new i3S, is wider and lower, with enhanced suspension and new Sport mode for noticeably maximised performance and dynamics.

The drive control system has been improved to give greater stability and grip when accelerating and decelerating, especially in slippery conditions and higher speeds. Steering has a more sporty, precise, tighter feel.

Also has Driving Assistant Plus, LED head/tail lights, Park Assist package, cruise and speed control.

BMW i3s interior

Inside, the car is very comfortable and stylish, high quality minimalism.

Headrests and roof height are adequate for tall people, seats are comfortable, and windows give good vision.

Because the electric motor is small and in the back the windscreen is a long way forward, leaving plenty of space inside, so much so that you could maybe store a set of golf clubs behind the windscreen if necessary. Upholstery is “Stellaric” Dalbergia Brown natural leather.

Handling is tight and dynamic, if a little rigid over bumps. One big thing to get used to is that the motor operates in reverse when you take your foot off the accelerator.

It acts as a generating brake that converts the energy of the car into electric power to recharge the battery, so that a lot of the times you don’t need to touch the brake pedal at all to slow the car, increasing the car’s range.

The infotainment package is easy to handle with the rotary controller, very intuitive, includes digital radio.

This is a BMW of the future.

BMW i3s sideBMW i3s Specifications:

360 V DC Electric motor, rear mounted, rear wheel drive, top speed limited to 160km/hr

Power: 135kW

Torque: 270nM

Dimensions mm: L 4,011, W 1,775 H 1,598 WB 2,570

Ground Clearance: 139 mm

Turning Circle:  9.86 m

Weight: 1,265kg

Price: from $69,900 plus on roads, (i3 is $1200 less)