BMW i8 Plug-in Hybrid officially revealed at Frankfurt Motor Show

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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.

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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.

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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.

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