By launching the more powerful i3S, BMW might have given the world its first electric hot hatch, but it will take more than just a few extra horsepower to actually earn that title.
The faster derivative version of the i3 range is powered by an electric motor that makes 181hp and 199lb-ft of torque (base i3: 168hp/184lb-ft). 0-62mph (0-100 km/h) takes 6.9 seconds while flat out it’ll do 99mph (160 km/h).
The 33kWh battery pack allows the all-electric i3S to travel up to 186 miles (300 km) between charges based on the NEDC cycle, with BMW commenting that the range is closer to 125 miles (200 km) out there in the real world. BMW also offers a two-cylinder range-extender petrol engine option to boost those figures.
The chassis has been specifically tuned for the i3S, with BMW adding a sports suspension that drops the ride height by 10mm. The tracks are also wider by 40mm to further increase grip, while a set of 20mm wider 20-inch wheels have been fitted.
What you’re left with a seriously quick hatchback which just grips and goes, thanks to the instant electric torque, the more focused chassis tuning and the really low center of gravity.
The question though remains: is the BMW i3S capable of thrilling the driver like a traditional hot hatch with an internal combustion engine? Henry Catchpole from Carfection investigates on the video that follows.