The BMW i3 is hardly a lethal track weapon and that’s ok. As you can see in the video above, it can still be a lot of fun on a road course. And, as also demonstrated in this footage, it has settings that can be changed to hand more control to the driver and decrease lap times.
The setting for the test is the IMI Motorsports Complex. It’s one-mile paved road course is a bit on the small and rough side, but still works fine for our purposes here. Kyle Conner, he of electric cannonball record-holder fame, is the host of the video on the Electric Performance YouTube channel and guy-behind the-wheel for this (extremely scientific) experiment.
It’s a chilly day at the track – only 15 degrees F (-9.4 C) – and with the electric commuter hatch (with range-extender (ReX)) sitting on a set of Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires, scorching lap times were never going to happen. Luckily, we only need to see a few comparison laps under the same conditions for the purposes here, so the weather isn’t really a factor.
The test involved three separate laps, the first with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) fully on and in effect, which basically allows the computer to intervene in a number of different ways to keep the car easily controlled by the driver. The second orbit of the course happens in Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), which will allow a bit more slip. The final circuit takes advantage of “roller mode,” which turns off all the driver assistance nannies and hands raw control over to the driver.
With a time keeper installed in the passenger seat, lap number one is completed in “Comfort mode” (Sport Mode is only available in the i3s trim), taking 1:18.14. The second orbit of the course saw the i3 ReX 1:17.5, a slight improvement.
For the last lap, it’s important to point out that the battery in the i3 was down to a 56-percent state of charge (SoC). With most EVs, a lower state of charge also means there will be slightly less power available. Even in this SoC, the car proves quicker with a human determining the limits of power output in the turns, finishing up with an impressive time of 1:16.19.
These various settings won’t be a factor to most drivers in their daily commutes, of course, but it’s still interesting (and entertaining!) to see the results here. If you haven’t tapped play on the video above, what are you waiting for? Enjoy!