BMW’s Hot Version Of i3 Still Is Less Powerful Than Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3

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BMW is rolling out a go-faster version of its electric hatchback, but it still might not be fast enough to keep up with the competition.

The manufacturer’s EV division, BMW i, will have four models in its lineup starting in 2018, with BMW unveiling a sportier variant of the i3.

The new model, dubbed the i3s, will be more powerful, feature better handling dynamics than the standard EV and is set to go on sale in 2018. BMW revealed the i3s on Tuesday ahead of its world debut in September at the International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt.

For the i3s, BMW tweaked the exterior styling of its electric hatchback to give it a more aggressive look and emphasize the car’s wider track. The car also will feature sport-tuned suspension, dampers, anti-roll bars and model-specific 20-inch alloy wheels.

BMW also will give the i3s a more powerful electric motor, which produces 184 horsepower and 199 foot-pounds of torque, propelling it from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. That’s admittedly a decent boost over the standard i3, which puts out 170 horsepower, 184 foot-pounds and reaches 60 mph in 7.2 seconds — but still not great.

We had assumed BMW’s goal for a performance-oriented i3 would be to beat the model’s existing competition — namely the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 — but it still falls short. The Bolt produces 200 horsepower, the Model 3 produces 258 horsepower, and both the Chevy and Tesla dwarf the BMW in terms of electric range, as it gets just 87 miles per charge — 180 with the optional range extender.

What’s more, the i3s can’t hold a candle to the current crop of gasoline-powered hot hatches.

Its main rival, however, the 200-horsepower Bolt, can stick with a 210-horsepower Volkswagen Golf GTI in a drag race. But given that the i3s is down on power compared to the Chevy and VW, it likely would be left looking at both their tail lights.

Thumbnail photo via BMW

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