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The biggest news by far for the i3 lineup in 2019 is the switch to a bigger battery pack for increased range. The 2019 i3 now has a range of 153 miles, nearly double what it was introduced. Meanwhile, buyers who opt for the range extender can now expect up to 200 miles on a charge with the optional charger. Thanks to the longer range, the i3 becomes less of a city car, and much more of an everyday vehicle, capable of taking between cities, not just through them.
The BMW i3 is BMW's first modern electric car. Powering base models is a 170-horsepower electric motor connected to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The optional i3s model puts out 184 horsepower and 184 lb-feet of torque from a 32-kWh lithium-ion battery. BMW claims an updated 0-60 mph of 6.9 seconds from the i3s. Rear-wheel drive prevents all that torque steer in check, while also ensuring that the i3 lives up to BMW's high standards for vehicle dynamics and handling. The i3 may be a departure from traditional BMW aesthetics and design, but it still offers the automaker's enthusiasm for performance and style.
BMW claims that the i3 has an electric-only range of about 158 miles in normal everyday driving, which should be plenty for most people's daily commute. The car's charging times are remarkably short; BMW claims a scant 39 minutes are needed to charge the car up to 80 percent capacity through the standard DC fast-charging system. Even at home, on a conventional 220V charger, the i3 only needs about four and a half hours to get from empty to a full charge. For those who desire a bit more range, BMW offers a range extender a small 2-cylinder gasoline engine that functions as a generator. With the range extender, the i3 can travel about 200 miles until it needs a gas or charging station.
The cabin is accessed through a combination of traditional front doors and rear-hinged rear doors. Inside, the i3 uses a variety of materials available in several different color combinations, BMW offers 3 trim packages they call "Worlds" Mega, Giga, and Tera. Many of the materials are renewable, sewn from hemp, kinaff and other unconventional plant fibers. More traditional materials are available as well, if desired.
Standard equipment on the i3 is plentiful, and includes BMW's iDrive system, an integrated SIM card, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, heated front seats, plus rear mounted parking sensors and a stationary climate control system. Options include a navigation system that is smart enough to interact with the car and suggest alternate routes based on battery charge, power moonroof, adaptive LED headlights, a glass roof, automatic climate control, a rearview camera and several driver assistance functions.