BMW i3 Urban Suite presented at Greentech Festival [Update]

Launched way back in 2013, the BMW i3 has sold well over 200,000 units though it’s the oldest electric model in its company’s lineup. In fact, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Management Board of BMW, has revealed in an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine that the electric hatchback will continue to be in production for the foreseeable future.

This month, the BMW Group presented the BMW i3 Urban Suite at the Greentech Festival, a mobility experience customized completely for the passenger’s individual needs for VIP shuttle duties. A standard i3 was fully redesigned (BMW retained only the dashboard and the driver seat) to make an interior that provides the feeling of the relaxed ambiance of a boutique hotel.

BMW i3 Urban Suite interior
BMW i3 Urban Suite is a show car that was designed for the Greentech Festival. Image: BMW

Here’s a quick look at the BMW i3 that is currently on sale.

Design

Last updated thoroughly in 2017, the i3 has a funky look with compact dimensions and had aged well. It measures 3,999 mm in length, 1,775 mm in width, and 1,578 mm in height. The facelift that was released a few years ago brought in an updated pair of LED headlights, a new bumper with bigger air intakes, and some chrome highlights above the window and on the boot lid. 

The BMW i3s variant gets optional two-tone colour schemes and a sharper-looking front bumper to highlight the little EV’s sporty aspirations. A 10 mm drop in the ride height not only makes the i3s look more planted but it aids handling.  

BMW i3
The i3 received a nip-and-tuck back in 2017, which brought in a handful of small changes for its exterior and interior. Image: BMW 

BMW i3 Interior

The interior of the BMW i3 was left largely untouched during its mid-life makeover. That said, BMW designers updated the display screen with better graphics, and the buyers now get to choose from a wider range of colors and materials. One even gets the option of having the cabin trimmed in recycled plastics and plant fiber. The BMW i3’s interior has been designed to feel futuristic through a minimalistic look devoid of the conventional dials. Most of the controls can be accessed through the touchscreen, while the large greenhouse area and a high roofline make the interior feel quite airy, especially for a car of this size.

Specifications

The BMW i3 gets a 170 hp/127 kW & 250 Nm electric motor that draws its juice from a 42.2 kWh battery. It’s claimed to be capable of sprinting from 0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds and has a driving range of 182-190 miles in the WLTP cycle. The i3s, on the other hand, has a 184 hp/137 kW & 270 Nm motor that can propel the EV to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds. The sportier variant has a driving range of 173-175 miles in the WLTP cycle, featuring the same battery.

BMW i3 rear
For a premium of GBP 1,000, one can opt for the i3s, a slightly sportier variant that offers a 14hp gain over the standard model. Image: BMW 

Production

The BMW Group plant in Leipzig (Saxony), Germany, builds the BMW i3 using 100% renewable energy since 2013. In October 2020, the cumulative production of the i3 reached 200,000 units.

On 25 June 2021, BMW Blog reported that BMW Group had informed U.S. dealers that it would stop making the i3 for America this year. The last US-spec i3 units will roll out in July 2021. The information comes from a dealer bulletin, which suggests that approximately 180 production slots are remaining for the i3. In short, it looks like the i3 is facing discontinuation at the end of MY2021 stateside. However, we are yet to know how long the urban electric car will remain in production for European countries and other markets.

In other updates, the ongoing silicon chip shortage in the auto industry has affected the i3 production. Automobilwoche reported on 27 June 2021 that the company couldn’t build a single i3 between 14 and 19 June 2021, which amounted to a production loss of around 700 units in total. On a normal day, around 120 i3 units roll off the assembly line in Leipzig. The company will see to it that it recoups the production loss by the end of the year.

BMW i3 FAQs

When was the BMW i3 released?

The i3 went on sale in 2013 and was updated in 2017 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in September that year.

Which are the main competitors to the BMW i3?

Rivals for the i3 include the Nissan Leaf and the VW ID.3.

What is the price of BMW i3?

In the UK, the BMW i3 has a starting price of GBP 33,805. The hotter i3S retails at a price of GBP 34,805.

Featured image: BMW