BMW has unveiled the new i8 at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The BMW i8 is the second model from the new BMW i brand and also the first plug-in hybrid for the company.
Designed as a 2+2 sports car, the revolutionary BMW i8 gives focus on lightweight construction and driving dynamics. Its passenger cell is made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), while the drive system technology, high-voltage battery, chassis, and crash and structural functions are all integrated into the aluminium Drive module. The result is a kerb weight of just 1,490kg and almost perfect front-rear weight distribution.
The BMW i8 is powered by a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology that produces 170 kW/231 hp and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque. The power from the engine is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. In addition to the petrol engine, the i8 also has an electric motor supplied by lithium-ion batteries that further channels 96 kW/131 hp and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.
Combined, the unique hybrid drive system outputs 266 kW/362 hp and a max torque of 570 Nm / 420 lb-ft, giving the BMW i8 “glued-to-the-road” AWD driving experience with torque distribution geared towards optimised dynamics. 0 – 100 km/h is dispatched in a sports-car-like 4.4 seconds while averaging just 2.5 litres per 100 km of fuel consumption.
The i8’s Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button allow driver to choose from five driving modes; range of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) on electric power alone and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph); COMFORT mode offers optimum balance between dynamics and efficiency; combined range in everyday conditions: over 500 kilometres (310 miles); SPORT mode with ultra-intense boost function provided by the electric motor; ECO PRO mode can be used in both all-electric mode and hybrid mode.
Looking almost production ready, the BMW i8 has a length of 4,689 mm, a width of 1,942 mm and a height of 1,293 mm. Its exterior design is characterised by a long bonnet, conspicuous aerodynamic features, an elongated roofline, short overhangs and a long wheelbase of 2,800 mm. The i8?s overall low slung body shape gives it a drag coefficient (Cd value) of just 0.26.