BMW has added a host of upgrades to the i3, including a more powerful battery. A new 33-kWh battery offers more range than the previous 22-kWh unit.
The new i3 benefits from a 50-percent increase in battery capacity, a feat BMW managed without changing the battery’s exterior dimensions. The 33-kWh unit offers usable energy of 27.2 kilowatt-hours, up from the previous battery’s usable 18.8 kW-hrs.
Now, the i3 can travel 114 miles on a single charge, BMW estimates. That figure refers to combined city and highway driving under everyday conditions, but it hasn’t yet been confirmed by the EPA. Theprevious i3 maxed out at 81 miles of all-electric range.
The 2017 BMW i3 continues to offer 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque from its standard all-electric powertrain. BMW says the new model has gained a little weight, hitting 2,961 pounds in all-electric form. The new i3 also takes longer to charge—about 4.5 hours with a Level 2 charger compared to 3.5 hours on the old model.
BMW will still offer a range-extended version of the i3 for those who need a little more juice. This version features the improved battery in addition to a two-cylinder gas engine that switches on once the battery dips down to a 6.5-percent charge. The Range Extender engine delivers up to 38 hp and is located adjacent to the electric drive above the rear axle. Thanks to increased weight, 0 to 60 takes an estimated 8 seconds, compared to 7 seconds in the new all-electric i3.
Other changes are mostly cosmetic. For 2017, customers can choose a Protonic Blue metallic paint color, which until now was only available on the i8 supercar. Shades of white, black, silver, and gray are also available. New standard features on the i3 include a universal garage door opener, real-time traffic information, and Comfort Access keyless entry.
Also, BMW is now offering an improved Home Charger Connect system. The system, which becomes available late this year, offers a more compact solution for charging your i3 in 4.5 hours. It’s operated using an LED interface and comes standard with WiFi.