BMW i8 sports car will also be one of the most technologically advanced.
As a refresher, the BMW i8 embodies a revolutionary, future-focused interpretation of the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned. It was purpose-designed as a plug-in-hybrid sports car offering agile performance and outstanding efficiency. An exceptionally lightweight and aerodynamically optimized body – including a passenger cell made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – plus advanced BMW eDrive drive system technology, a compact, highly turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.
The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a conventional 110 volt power outlet as well as a 220 volt electric vehicle charger, and sends its power to the front axle. This bespoke plug-in hybrid system, developed and produced by the BMW Group, enables a range in everyday driving of up to 35 kilometers (approx. 22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph) on electric power alone, coupled with a “glued-to-the-road” all-wheel driving experience headlined by powerful acceleration and a dynamically-biased distribution of power through enthusiastically taken corners. The more powerful of the two power sources drives the rear wheels and uses the electric boost from the hybrid system to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure while at the same time offering groundbreaking levels of efficiency. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 4.4 seconds, yet average fuel consumption – as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles – stands at the equivalent of 94 miles per US gallon from launch.
As well as providing a power boost to assist the gasoline engine during acceleration, the electric motor can also power the vehicle by itself. Top speed is then 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph). The BMW i8 has a maximum driving range in this emission-free, virtually soundless, all-electric mode of up to 35 kilometers (approx. 22 miles). The motor derives its energy from the lithium-ion battery which is centrally mounted underneath the floor of the vehicle. This model-specific version of the high-voltage battery was developed and produced by the BMW Group. It has a liquid cooling system, offers a maximum usable capacity of five kilowatt hours and can be recharged from a conventional 110 volt power outlet, at a BMW i charging station, or at a public EV charging station.
As well as the electronic gear selector for the automatic transmission, the driver can also use the Driving Experience Control switch – a familiar feature of the latest BMW models – or, exclusively to the BMW i8, the eDrive button. It gives the driver five operating modes to choose from: D for automated gear selection in COMFORT and ECO PRO modes, SPORT mode and eDrive for pure-electric driving – likewise with a choice of COMFORT and ECO PRO mode.