Top Gear Reviews UK’s Sportier BMW i3s

BMW just released in Britain an i3s, the sportier version of its electric i3, with a larger 120 Ah battery. Top Gear decided to give the upgraded i3s a try, and the resulting review paints a pretty alluring picture of what it’s like to drive the car.

The i3s offers 182bhp, about 14 more than the i3, and can go from 0 to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds, 0.4 less than the i3. It also features one-inch-bigger wheels, 10mm-lower suspension, a 40mm-wider track and extended wheel arches. The car’s max speed is 99mph.

The drive system now also has a new Sport mode, and you get a bespoke steering setup and slightly updated exterior design. The upgraded i3s costs £37,615, or about 49,022, new — about 3,258 more than the regular i3. Overall, Top Gear gave the BMW i3s a rating of 8/10.

2014 BMW All-Electric i3 Press Drive.

The Top Gear reviewer, Stephen Dobie, notes that on paper the differences between the i3s and i3 are pretty subtle. When it comes to how the car drives though, he writes, the i3s “does noticeably lift it to another level.” He notes that the acceleration is “flipping quick” up to 60 miles per hour, especially in the first 40. Lifting off the gas pedal often provides enough of a slowdown to navigate turns, speed bumps and the like without needing to hit the brakes.

Top Gear writes that the i3s handles well “to an extent.” Dobie notes the vehicle’s tall body and flighty steering as well as its rear-wheel drive and the fact that the car’s heaviest portions are set low. After some time, you’ll get used to how the car handles and even learn to take advantage of it to tuck into and out of corners, he writes.

“It’ll even indulge a small amount of silliness if you slacken off the stability control,” Dobie says. Loosening up the stability control with a few turns and clicks of the iDrive wheel will let you get enough momentum during a turn to enjoy some nano-slides.

The setup and design of the car seem to encourage you to drive fast, Dobie says. There’s a large fishbowl windscreen that gives you a clear view of the road, and a digital speedometer at the bottom of it. The way the car flat-lines its acceleration around the typical highway speed limit means you can get to the car’s fun dynamics without pushing too hard.

BMW Press

“What’s present here – and not in a Leaf, Zoe or Ioniq – is a real sense of humour, and layers of fun beyond those first few hits away from the traffic lights,” Dobie writes in his review. “Isn’t it vital to know as cars fundamentally change, their sense of fun is still tangible?”

Of course, if you drive hard, your range will decrease from the quoted 160 miles. The car doesn’t have the optional range extender, a small gas-powered engine, anymore either — it’s fully electric.

Based on this review though, it seems like enjoying the full extent of the driving experience the i3s has to offer might be worthing losing a bit of range now and then.

BMW i debuts as an exclusive partner of Coachella 2017

BMW i will debut as the exclusive transportation partner at the Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival in 2017, providing VIP shuttle service and hospitality during the weekends of April 14-16 and 21-23. BMW’s sustainable, future-oriented brand will provide BMW i3 electric vehicles and BMW X5 40e iPerformance plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for transportation on and around the festival site.

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Germany Banning Gasoline and Diesel by 2030?

Electricity is coming.

Say what? Yes, unfortunately it seems that time is running out for our beloved fossil-fueled machines from not only Munich, but the rest of the world. News has recently reported that German legislation is seeking to ban all new cars not capable of producing zero emissions. Though I can go further into questioning where and how electricity is produced (looking at you especially, China), the sad truth is we must prepare for a world of electricity. Tesla is showing that their surprisingly successful Model S can be a mainstream device with gobs of real world performance. However, this comes at a both a serious cost and weight penalty.

Furthermore, their incredulous straight line performance can’t be replicated on a circuit, falling easily to hot hatches even. BMW has made their own strides already into this market, with the I3 city and I8 sportscars. They’re even adding in so-called ‘I Performance’ models in the shape of the X5 40E and now 330e, both capable of limited electric-only range. The I3 has not been exactly the sales success BMW hoped, but having spent some seat time in a few, they’re a surprisingly a fun steer. With fantastic response from the 22kwh battery pack with the down-low power that only electrons provide, it’s truly not terrible. The steering and handling aren’t bad either, actually maintaining the feel of a (modern) BMW. The strikes against it though come in the way of range, or lack thereof, and the looks which are too polarizing. While I’ve seen some owners who regularly achieve 90+ miles of electric-only driving, it’s just not enough.

The updated 2017 promises about 120 of electric driving, but with Chevy’s Bolt coming at the turn of the New Year and promising 200 miles for less dosh, BMW will have to go further. It is, however, the most efficient vehicle on the planet per EPA ratings, thanks to a lightweight construction. Also, as with all electric vehicles, they take too long to charge. It’s not range anxiety by way of how many miles are available, but how long it’ll take to charge those miles back. Even with DC fast chargers, 30 minutes is a lot longer than popping in for gas for 5 minutes. But this can be expected, as the technology is still very new.

Can it improve though to the tune of 300 miles and quick charging in 15 minutes? Most batteries are lithium-ion based and I’m no scientist here, but if a battery uses a reaction with an element to produce energy, can the labcoats coax more energy out of the same amount of lithium without just increasing its mass? It seems that with electric cars, the only way to increase the range is to make a bigger battery, not a more efficient one. For now it seems batteries are not becoming more capable, but only larger. And yes, batteries are heavy, monolithic chunks of granite. Seriously, ever look up the curb weight of a Model S?

But this is all insubstantial to the real issue here. Can BMWs still be BMWs when every model is electric? Since they helped invent the sports saloon, BMW has always been the driver’s choice when it comes to luxury saloons. The 2002 and resultant 3-series threw the world on its face with their patented combinations of driver interaction and practicality. And then came the others. The M-cars. What will the world be like with electric M cars? Would they still be Ms? I honestly have no idea.

Part of what makes an E46 M3 so special is the emotion of revving the S54 to oblivion as it floods your senses with inertia and noise. The torque-heavy shove of atoms in an I3 is fun at lower speeds, but there’s no soundtrack to make it a thing of beauty and the acceleration drops off quickly. You could argue that I  overrate how important sound is in a sports car, but I don’t think I can. A true petrolhead quivers and gets sexually aroused at the sound of a beautiful engine. Ever hear the M88 in an M1 Procar in person? Or what about an E60 M5 with an Eisenmann exhaust fitted? They’re pure theatre, a proper symphony worthy of being preserved in the Library of Congress. That’s how much I love and, frankly, need a sound. And back to weight again, how on earth would an all-electric M3 weigh 3500 pounds? Carbon can only do so much.

I think though, depending how electric road cars develop, there is one route I hope BMW follows in pursuing an exciting sound for an electric M: that of an LMP1 Hybrid. Watching Le Mans this past weekend, I did thoroughly enjoy the sound the Audi R18 and Porsche 919 made when riding onboard. During acceleration, it’s the not the  internal combustion engine that provides the majority of sound, but the whine of electric motors powering the Rohirrim. I mean, seriously, it sounds like a TIE Fighter straight out of Star Wars. And more substantial, it’s bloody well cool and makes an LMP1-H one of the fastest accelerating things on the planet when coupled with the ICE. At lower speeds, an I3 makes a slight hum, but it’s mostly irrelevant. If a future M3 can pull off the sound of science fiction, then maybe, and this is a big maybe, it could somewhat replace the howl of individual throttle bodies and quad exhausts.

Perhaps the first step is to move all models into the realm of these sports hybrids. With the carbon and battery know-how that BMW has learned from the I8 and I3, this can be directly instigated into the next generation of M’s. I’m not against a hybrid M car, as long as the philosophy is to  use electricity to supplement performance, like a Mclaren P1, rather than make an eco-minded car that also possesses speed.

Could a law  define a zero emissions vehicle by its  ability to go as long  on electrons as what an engine/onboard range extender can take it? Say BMW makes the 2030 M3 capable of 200 miles electric driving, but then  has an angry turbocharged 4 or even 3 cylinder that activates at full throttle or when put in a dedicated track mode. Maybe this could be a loophole for BMW and others to create wild hybrid sports cars. I’m sure some carmakers will get their lawyers going on a similar idea. The truth though is that we will just have wait and see what BMW and the rest of the car world comes up with to satisfy our petrol cravings.

BMW i3 Charging

One Week With: 2016 BMW i3 REx

Automobile Magazine gets their hands on a 2016 BMW i3 REx for a week.  Take a read of their experience with BMW’s electric hybrid designed for the urban environment.

No, the i3 isn’t the sort of car to take away one’s breath like its big brother. But it’s a thoroughly compelling machine in its own right, one that does its job—scoot about urban environments in comfort and quiet while emitting zero emissions (most of the time)—darn well near to perfection.

The i3 REx runs purely on electric power.  However the REx indicates that it caries a gasoline powered motor designed to be used in emergencies when the batteries run low.  When the batteries reach a point of concern, the i3 smartly engages the 34 horsepower two-cylinder engine to charge them up again.  The i3 can do approximately 80 miles before running out of charged battery power at which point the engine will engage to recharge them to help you reach your next plug.

The BMW i3 is a 2015 10 Best Green Cars Winner By Kelley Blue Book, Green Car Journal’s 2015 Green Car of the Year and 2015 10 Best Interiors List by Wards. The question is, would you pay $43,000 for one?

You can read their entire article here… http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-2016-bmw-i3-rex/

You can chime in about their article here… http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?2299568-One-Week-With-2016-BMW-i3-REx

 

THE 2015 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW

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Making its North American debut, the all-new BMW 330e features a plug-in hybrid drive system offering typical BMW driving dynamics and outstanding efficiency. The innovative use of an electric motor and the BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine results in a total system output of 248 bHP and 310 lb-ft torque. BMW 330e accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. In everyday driving condition, a total range of up 373 miles is attainable. The 2016 BMW 330e will arrive in US showrooms in Spring 2016.

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The all-new 2016 BMW M4 GTS is an exclusive technological masterpiece, which elevates the performance of the BMW M4 Coupe to an impressive new level, making its North American Debut in Los Angeles. With its powerful, motorsport-inspired looks and high-performance technology, the BMW M4 GTS has its sights set on the racetrack. The BMW M4 GTS makes use of the multi-award-winning M TwinPower turbo engine utilizing an innovative water injection system that boosts power to 493 bHP. The track ready chassis and unbeatable engine performance ensured a lap time of 7 minutes 28 seconds around the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife. This special edition is limited to 700 units worldwide, with 300 units of the exclusive high-performance Special Edition M4 available in the US market. The 2016 BMW M4 GTS will arrive in US showrooms in Spring 2016.

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The BMW X1, making its North American debut, is the second generation of its successful predecessor model and features more robust overall proportions, more interior space for passengers and luggage alike, and additional innovative connectivity and groundbreaking BMW EfficientDynamics technology that is unparalleled in the segment. The BMW X1 xDrive28i will feature a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine producing 228 bHP and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8 speed Steptronic automatic transmission, enabling the newest X family member to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds. The engine is coupled with the new BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system and newly developed chassis technology, which enhances sporting ability and ride. The MSRP for the BMWX1 xDrive28 will be $35,795 including Destination and Handling with an on sale date of October 24, 2015.

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The all-new BMW 7 Series is the brand’s flagship in its sixth generation and once again sets the standard for luxury performance, delivering the highest level of driving refinement in the premium class. It will be making its North American debut in Los Angeles with an on sale date of October 24, 2015. The 2016 BMW 7 Series sets a new benchmark in lightweight design, driving dynamics, comfort, intelligent connectivity and intuitive operation. The BMW EfficientLightweight concept allows the new BMW 7 Series line-up a 190 pounds weight reduction in comparison to its predecessor. Groundbreaking Carbon Core passenger cell technology is the key element on the body structure by the extensive use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and the strategic application of lightweight design to reduce weight and increase both the overall torsion strength and bending stiffness. Featuring BMWs newest and pioneering technologies such as Gesture Control, Wireless Charging and Display Key. An Active Kidney Grille will also be available for the first time in the US. The MSRP for the BMW 740i will be $82,295, the $95,395 for the 750i Sedan and $98,395 for the BMW 750i xDrive all including Destination and Handling.

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The BMW X5 xDrive40e the company’s first eDrive Sports Activity Vehicle, charts the next chapter of BMW’s ongoing EfficientDynamics initiative. Benefitting from the groundbreaking work with BMW i on electromobility, the X5 xDrive40e combines the company’s award-winning 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine with an electric motor integrated into its 8-speed automatic transmission. The BMW X5 xDrive40e can travel approximately 13 miles on pure electric propulsion, powered by a lithium-ion battery, ideally suited for short commutes and quick trips around town yielding an impressive 56 MPGe. Combined, the gasoline engine and electric motor put out 308 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the X5 xDrive40e from 0-60mph in just 6.5 seconds. This Sports Activity Vehicle features BMW xDrive, the company’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, for optimal stability and traction under all road conditions. The 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e is available in US showrooms for $63,095 including Destination and Handling.

The BMW i8 is the first eDrive 2+2 sports-car from BMW. It sits at the pinnacle of the BMW i lineup of visionary vehicles which are purpose built from the ground up as electric and hybrid electric, constructed primarily from lightweight carbon fiber. Currently in showrooms and priced at $140,700 plus Destination & Handling, the MY2016 BMW i8 features Laser Lights available as an option for the first time in the US, enhancing its athletic design and sleek, low slung exterior. The BMW i8 operates with extremely high fuel efficiency boasting a US EPA rating of 76 MPGe combined. It is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph.

The BMW i3 is the first fully electric vehicle from BMW Group. Constructed from the ground up primarily from lightweight carbon fiber, the BMW i3 features a 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque hybrid-synchronous electric motor that propels the vehicle from 0-60 mph in approximately 7.2 seconds. The BMW i3 is electrified by a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, will travel approximately 81 miles of emission-free driving. The BMW i3 offers interior space comparable to the legendary BMW 3 Series on a shorter overall body. Its 32.4-foot turning circle and a relatively long wheelbase make it agile and engaging to drive, yet ideally suited to driving in dense urban areas. With a combined rating of 124 MPGe, the BMW i3 is the most efficient electric as rated by the US EPA. Currently in showrooms, the BMW i3 has a base MSRP of $41,350, before any federal or state incentives, plus $995 for Destination & Handling.