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Brand New BMW i3

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Trevor Collett | Aug 16, 2016

BMW’s i3 range has been boosted by the arrival of a new model this week, bringing improved range and better fuel economy but increased weight and a higher price-tag.

As per its 94 Ampere-hour battery pack, the new model is called the BMW i3 94Ah and will eventually replace the current offering as the ‘2017 i3’ in Australia.

For now, both the current i3 (which is 60Ah) and the i3 94Ah will be available to BMW customers and each is still available as either an all-electric or range-extended model.

The 94Ah boosts output from the battery pack to 33kWh (up from 22kWh) of which 27kWh can be effectively used (up from 19), but weight also increases to 1245kg. BMW adds that the battery pack is no larger than the one it replaces, but more energy is packed into its lithium-ion cells.

Carried-over from the current model is the battery pack’s ‘single-cell replacement’ features, meaning a defective cell can be replace individually rather than the entire battery pack - saving time, money and resources.

The theoretical maximum range for the 94Ah is around 310km (up from 190km), but BMW says owners can expect around 200km during normal day-to-day driving with air-conditioning, lights and other electronic devices in use.

Power from the electric motor is rated at 125kW/250Nm, and the all-electric i3 can reach 100km/h from rest in 7.3 seconds. Top speed for the all-electric i3 is limited to 150km for “efficiency reasons”.

Both i3 models are available with the same 28kW 650cc twin-cylinder petrol engine as the current 60Ah, which boosts maximum range from its nine-litre tank on the new 94Ah under normal driving conditions to 320km. The theoretical maximum the 94Ah can achieve is 390km, and fuel consumption is rated at just 0.6 l/100km.

The 94Ah isn’t just about improved powerplant performance, however, with BMW also adding the capacity for “future-proof” DC fast-charging at up to 50kWh.

Using BMW’s optional i Wallbox, an 80-percent charge can be achieved for the 94Ah model in under eight hours. A ChargePoint facility can speed this up to around four hours, while the supplied “occasional-use” domestic socket cable takes around 14 hours for an 80-percent charge.

Buyers can now opt for BMW’s Protonic Blue exterior paint finish with the i3 94Ah, made famous by BMW’s other i car - the i8. White and black non-metallic paints are also available, along with Mineral Grey, Platinum Silver and Iconic Silver metallic finishes.

Inside, there’s three trim levels to choose from, called Loft, Lodge and Suite. Renewable leather, wood and wool finishes also feature throughout.

Interior tech includes Navigation System Professional with charging station locations and a range map, BMW i ConnectedDrive services, smartphone connectivity, BMW Connected App Programs and more.

Pricing for the 60Ah models is unchanged, starting at $63,900 plus on-road costs. Buyers looking to get into the new 94Ah model will need an extra $2000, and the range-extender engine adds $6000 to both models.

“BMW remains at the forefront of providing e-mobility solutions, and the upgraded battery package of the latest BMW i3 is proof of this,” BMW Australia Managing Director, Marc Werner, said.

“It reinforces the BMW i brand’s innovative strength and builds on the positive reactions drawn from the recently-launched iPerformance vehicles; products that directly benefit from the work done at BMW i.”

The 2017 BMW i3 94Ah is available from October, backed as before by an eight-year or 100,000km battery warranty (whichever occurs first).

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Pricing (plus on-road costs)

2017 BMW i3

  • BMW i3 EV - $63,900
  • BMW i3 with Range Extender - $69,900
  • BMW i3 94Ah EV - $65,900
  • BMW i3 94Ah with Range Extender - $71,900
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