BMW has introduced a sportier version of its popular i3 compact sedan dubbed the i3s. The new, sleeker, performance-focused i3 features an improved design aimed at eliminating the boxy structure of previous model years. BMW hopes the sportier style will put it on par with major competitors like Tesla.
“The visionary design of the BMW i3 showcases both BMW’s customary sporting capability and the efficiency of a four-seater with authentic clarity,” the company said in a press release.
BMW’s i3s features a sport-tuned suspension, more aggressive body cues in the front and rear, and a wider track by 40 millimeters over the standard model. Power has been increased from a rated 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque to 184 hp and 199 lb-feet of torque from its all-electric rear motor.
Though some may see BMW as competition for Tesla’s mass market Model 3 sedan, the two vehicles stand in stark contrast with one another. The i3 is listed at $44,450 while the Model 3’s sticker price is $35,000. The i3 boasts an all-electric range of roughly 100 miles from a 33 kWh battery pack, but capable of reaching what the company claims as 200 miles with a range extender option that’s powered by a small gasoline engine. Meanwhile, Tesla’s Long Range Model 3 has a battery capacity of roughly 80 kWh and capable of 310 miles of all-electric range per single charge.
As Tesla continues to do a land grab for market share from the likes of Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, the German automakers will continue to try and prove themselves as on par with the Palo Alto-based electric car maker.
Tesla has entered “production hell,” a phrase coined by CEO Elon Musk, on its Model 3 and is aiming to produce half a million Model 3s in 2018. Tesla has recently seen several car giants jump into the EV discussion.
Notably, Volkswagen and Volvo have made major commitments toward electrification, and BMW even aims to introduce an all electric 3-Series sedan. As Model 3 production continues, German automakers appear to be positioning themselves to compete with Tesla in the EV market once full scale Model 3 production is reached.
As the two sides vie for a major hold on the EV sector, German automakers have continued to feel the aftermath of the emissions controversy. Earlier this month, it was reported that a Volkswagen executive was expected to plead guilty to up to 11 felonies stemming from the controversy.
In addition to arrests of major company executives at VW, Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW have also faced an investigation from the European Commission as to whether the companies reduced costs of crucial technology that mislead the public on emissions.
BMW group has largely denied these claims.