The BMW i8 represents one of the most eagerly anticipated sports cars from the marque for 2013. As part of the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept, the i8 joins the i3 as part of a new range of hybrid vehicles that show BMW’s commitment to future efficiency and low fuel consumption across their ranges. The four seater i8 sports car offers both efficiency and luxury, as well as great performance that adapts many of the best features of the BMW M type to a hybrid plug in model. While somewhat pricy at somewhere over 100,000 Euros, drivers will get the best of the BMW range, as well as the long term durability of a hybrid.
The focus for the i8 is on power and efficiency, driven in part by the three cylinder, 1.5 litre turbo diesel engine that sits at the rear of the car. The electric motor, which in itself can generate 129 hp, is at the front of the vehicle, with the two power sources either being used separately, or alternated for efficiency. Together they can generate 328 hp, as well as 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph. The electric motor uses a lithium polymer battery, which can be charged from a regular plug socket.
The BMW i8’s body is made up of a combination of aluminum and reinforced carbon plastic, with the result being a car that is lightweight but still durable, and weighs 32,000 pounds in total. The lightweight approach to the body similarly means that the car is more aerodynamic, while space has been added for extra storage and bench seats. The front mounted electric motor, and rear engine also provides an equal weight distribution for the i8’s overall suspension.
The emphasis on the interiors has been on a welcoming minimalism, with the focus being on drivability rather than overloading. The four seater interior is designed around a layering approach that includes black, white and mocha brown, with a gearshift lever and a start and stop button for the motor. A free standing display unit is also fitted for instrumentation and 3D readouts.
The BMW i8’s main benefit is it energy efficiency, and the ability to use the electric motor as a sole power source, before switching back to the petrol engine once the charge has run dry. Driving in all electric mode means producing zero emissions. Other features include emergency braking, as well as front protection to reduce the amount of danger involved in passenger collisions. Taken together, the BMW i8 is set to be an exciting addition to 2013’s lineup of hybrid and plug in electric models. Although the price may put off some drivers, the potential to be able to still enjoy a BMW sports car experience, while benefiting from the low mileage and energy efficiency of the electric motor, and its resulting savings in terms of road tax, make the i8 a serious consideration for long term use.