BMW I8 Concept
By launching the BMW i3 and BMW i8 concept cars, the German carmaker is basically also launching a new brand, which is aimed at being as eco-friendly as possible without altering any of the traditional BMW values. The most impressive concept is definitely the BMW i8, a preview of the upcoming production version, which is based on the highly acclaimed BMW Vision EfficientDynamics and managing to keep almost all of the concept’s futuristic features.
According to BMW’s press release, the BMW i8 features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, borrowing the electric motor from the i3 concept, but in this case the power is transmitted to the front axle, the rear one being powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-liter engine delivering 220 hp and 330 Nm of torque. The combined power output is 348-hp and maximum torque is 550 Nm.
Performance-wise, the BMW i8 seems to be the first true hybrid sports car, BMW engineers managing to keep the weight very low for a hybrid vehicle, 1,480 kg (3,260 pounds), so the car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds, the 80 km/h (50 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph) time is 4 seconds and the top speed is 250 km/h (155 mph). All of this come with an average fuel consumption of only 2.7 liters per 100 km (87.1 US mpg). And to be honest, considering the car’s looks and performance, I don’t think anyone would mind if the fuel consumption doubled.
The two powerplants will work synchronized for maximum efficiency and for the lowest fuel consumption, but the BMW i8 will also offer a full electric mode, which will allow a range of around 35 km (more than 20 miles). The battery charging time is less than 2 hours (105 minute, to be more exact), which is a big advantage, considering that owners will be able to charge their cars during a shopping session, while watching a movie at the cinema or while having a coffee with someone. The only requirement is that the infrastructure for plug-in hybrids should be developed by the time the car enters production.
When looking at the BMW i8 from the outside, you can tell the concept is definitely an aerodynamic “victim” and to be honest, if aerodynamic-oriented design is looking so beautiful, then you can’t help wondering what the point is in speaking about other design values such as emotion, tradition and history. According BMW’s head designer, Adrian van Hooydonk, the only major difference the production version will be the windows, which won’t be as large as the ones on the BMW i8 Concept, but the design team is working around the clock to make sure the final version gets as much natural light as possible. The BMW official also added that the production version will also get four seats, 150 liters of luggage space and the glass roof will be replaced by a carbon fiber one.
Also, for BMW, the two new eco-friendly “i” models will represent the next step in what concerns communication, connectivity and the interaction with the driver and passengers.