2018 BMW i3s First Drive: Indulge Your Enthusiasm

– Lisbon, Portugal

Larry David’s spectacular return to from in the revamp of the HBO comedy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, came with an unexpected, and yet natural I think, piece of product placement. In the stead of his trusty Toyota Prius, David now drives around LA in what BMW would love to be the new default, high-profile-low-consuming vehicle, the i3.

The snark and weird logic of David (be it his character on the show, or IRL), doesn’t exactly fit the Hollywood Eco-Warrior trope. Yet there’s an underlying sense – a “special breed” of driver, if you will – to the iconoclastic choice.

For me this is perfect matchmaking. The i3 has been somewhat polarizing since its debut, with big-wheeled, fantastical mobility pod styling and a full-on luxury-spec price tag, not exactly jiving with technology placement somewhere between a Chevy Volt and a Tesla Model 3. There’s always been a lot to love about a sporty, high-design, rear-drive, electric vehicle with a BMW badge, but the romance has seemingly been aimed at a very small slice of the EV-buy pie.

2018 BMW i3s: First Drive
2018 BMW i3s: First Drive
2018 BMW i3s: First Drive
2018 BMW i3s: First Drive

The whole i3 model line will be better this year than before, because all trims, i3s included, get the once-optional 33.2 kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery pack.

With the new BMW i3s – unapologetically aimed at a more “sportiv” audience – the slice would seem to get smaller, but the bite more delicious.

Before we get to the driving pleasure portion, let me say that the whole i3 model line will be better this year than before, becaus...