Following on from the i3, BMW has released details of its forthcoming plug-in hybrid sports car, the i8.
Utilizing the company’s i LifeDrive architecture, the i8 focuses around a lightweight carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell connected to the aluminum Drive module, which incorporates a TwinPower turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit that sends 170 kW (231 hp) and 320 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, along with an electric motor developing 96 kW (131 hp) and 250 Nm driving the front wheels through a two-stage automatic gearbox.
With a length of 4689 mm, width of 1942 mm and standing 1293 mm tall, the i8 possesses almost identical dimensions to Ferrari’s F12 but enjoys a lower drag coefficient of 0.26. The slippery design and weight of 1490 kg means it can hit 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) in all-wheel drive mode, with electric power alone allowing a maximum of 120 km/h (75 mph) and a range of 35 kilometres (22m). Overall a distance of 500 km (310m) can be covered, with less than 2.5 litres of fuel needed every 100 km (95 US MPG) and fewer than 59 grams of carbon dioxide emitted every kilometre. The liquid-cooled lithium-ion can be fully charged in less than three hours at a conventional household socket and less than two hours at a BMW i Wallbox.
Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Concept revealed two years ago, the i8 sits on 20-inch alloys and features air curtain ducts in the front bumper along with aero layers positioned either side of the rear window. The driver can choose between ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT modes depending on the situation, with such equipment as Dynamic Damper Control, Dynamic Stability Control and push button-activated Dynamic Traction Control all fitted as standard.
Due to make its world debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show (September 10 to 22) before production begins in 2014, a senior figure at BMW has indicated that pricing will be on the painful side of €100,000.