Can The BMW i3S Be An Electric Hot Hatch?

Photo: BMW
Photo: BMW

Next year, BMW is reportedly making significant changes to its awkward little i3 electric hatchback—changes that Autocar says will include a more powerful top trim that could bump the Bavarian EV into what it calls “hot hatchback” status. Can this i3S really be that fun to drive?


The British car site says BMW will launch the i3S late next year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and that the new car will crank up the horsepower from the current i3's 170, ultimately becoming “the market’s first proper electric hot hatch.”

But it probably wont be acceleration times that distinguish the i3S as the first EV hot hatch, as the car site says the new Top Of The Line i3S will just get a tweaked version of the current car’s hybrid-synchronous electric motor, and that it “won’t be drastically quicker than the regular car.”

Today’s i3 already accelerates from zero to 60 in about seven seconds (that’s about as fast as a Fiesta ST), plus there’s also the Chevy Bolt EV hatchback, which GM says will accelerate to 60 in 6.5 seconds—that’s decently quick.

Still, there’s more to hot hatchback status than just acceleration times, so maybe the added “sporting character” that Autocar mentions means the new i3s will significantly out-handle the base i3 (which already handles quite well) and the heavier Chevy Bolt.

Who knows. We’ll just have to wait until September when BMW debuts its new i3 line, which will supposedly get refreshed bumpers, headlights, interior bits, infotainment, exterior colors, added range and hopefully a fire-breathing top trim that carves corners like no other EV hatchback before.

Sr. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.


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