Is it time for a facelift already? Time flies, and it has been over three years since the BMW i3 first hit showrooms. The electric car range will be facelifted for 2018, and the refreshed model is set to debut at Frankfurt’s IAA show in September this year.

There’s a surprise in store – Autocar reports that there will be a new range-topping model that could be called the i3S. The S variant of the i3 will offer improved straight-line performance and a more sporting character, and will set itself apart as the first electric hot hatch in the market, the report says.

Today’s i3 is powered by a rear-mounted electric motor with 170 hp and 250 Nm, and is capable of 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds, so one can imagine that it would not take a lot to push the i3S into regular hot hatch territory, performance figures wise.

The British mag understands that powertrain improvements for the i3 facelift range will be minor, building on last year’s significantly upgraded i3. The latest car comes with a 33 kWh battery (from 22 kWh) and power density of 94 Ah (from 60 Ah), and its range is rated at over 300 km in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) cycle, up from 190 km.

The electric hatchback’s distinctive looks will remain, with minor styling tweaks expected. Based on the latest spyshots, the headlights and front bumpers, and an i8-style lower rear section, are possible changes. Autocar adds that the infotainment system will be updated, and there will be more colour options and customisation possibilities.

Read our review of the 2017 BMW i3, sampled in Munich last year.

GALLERY: BMW i3 facelift


GALLERY: 2017 BMW i3 94 Ah