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It is easy to dismiss, or overlook, BMW’s new bigger-battery i3 electric car on a number of fronts.

On clinical assessment, they include price, range and internal space.

More subjectively, there is the love-or-hate cabin, exterior looks and lack of boot room.

I confess to have been something of a sceptic for some time now. Until someone, more learned than I, pointed out a few things. They get me thinking.

As you know, the i3 battery power, hence range, has been increased and it’s got a few tweaks here and there.

I’m looking at it differently, too, for another reason: we’re now on the crest of the electric wave that was merely a ripple last time around.

And there is so much to re-appreciate in this – such as the mix of fabrics not normally associated with a car, the seating, tactile switchgear, rear-ward opening back doors, snub-nose design. General touches reinforce my belief this car’s main fault is that it has been too far ahead of its time for years now.

Incidentally, the rear doors won’t open unless the front ones are already ajar, but what an entrance space they provide – even if rear room is poor enough when you do get in.

I had the new i3S – 120Ah for the first time on Irish roads last week. Of course, even after some lovely driving, some criticisms remain, but by no means as many as before.

Being under 1,300kg helps efficiency (around 215km range on my drives) and the i3S is slightly more powerful than the i3 (183bhp vs 170bhp).

It was not just a unique sort of drive; it was engaging and swift. With all its torque (up slightly, too) at its disposal from the get-go, it flew from a standing start to 100kmh (6.9 seconds felt fast). The chassis (it now sits on wider track, stiffened springs, anti-roll bars, dampers) is so good, it belongs in a sports car. Those combinations make it a driver’s motor.

To an extent, that’s where criticisms can kick in: who needs such cutting-edge performance? Not too many. Yet after driving it, I’m saying I do. Why not?

But always hovering is the reminder: the i3S 120Ah costs too much. My one came to €54.613.41 to be precise. No, I wouldn’t pay that for it either.

But some of the stuff on board chimes with what I’ve been saying about its novel approach. There is eucalyptus matt fine-wood trim and what they call the interior world suite.

More ‘mundane’ sounding items include reversing camera, park distance control front/rear, auto wipers and headlights, cruise control with brake function and automatic air con.

Then there are 20ins double-spoke alloys, Thatcham alarm, heated front seats, sat nav etc. Road tax is €120.

With twice the capacity of the original i3 and around double the range, it’s able to store energy to the tune of 42.2kWh (kiloWatt hours).

That’s close to the excellent, but much less expensive, Nissan Leaf (40kWh), yet it’s way behind Hyundai’s Kona electric (64kWh).

I know all these figures and numbers can be confusing; I think of them as ‘fuel tank capacities’ to get a sort of idea of their potential conversion to range.

Overall, I loved it, but I still have clinical reservations. For a long-miler, forget it; the Kona beats the pants off it on price and range. But as a car to enjoy around town and to sample combinations of inputs and trims, it stands alone.

Love the car; don’t love the price – or low range.

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