BMW will reveal their production ready i8 on September 10th, with the all-new plug-in hybrid sports car becoming (probably) the most expensive and certainly the most sophisticated car they’ve ever made.
Prior to next week’s official launch, a couple of photos have been leaked, while yesterday BMW released a 30-second teaser video showing glimpses of a car which most of us could already draw in our sleep.
As expected, the see-through doors of the i8 concept are now conventionally solid, while the door mirrors and wheels now adopt a familiar production-car look. But it’s the same silhouette as the previous two concept cars, complete with those unusual ‘fins’ steering airflow around the rear three-quarters and reducing drag.
Inside you’ll notice some familiar BMW design touches, including the steering wheel, gear selector and most of the controls – perhaps the main difference being the electric blue digital instruments and exposed carbon-fibre in the door sills.
The i8 will be powered by a 3-cylinder petrol engine, built at BMW’s Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham. The 1.5-litre three cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine powers the rear wheels and produces 228bhp with 236lb-ft of torque. Driving the front wheels is a 129bhp electric drive system producing an additional 184 lb-ft of torque. With both powerplants combined the i8 delivers 357bhp with 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) of torque and accelerates from zero-to-60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
Despite an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph, BMW claims an average fuel consumption of just 78 mpg with CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. With its 7.2 kWh (26 MJ) lithium-ion battery pack, the i8 should be able to travel in pure-electric mode for up to 20 miles.
Much has been made of the i8’s ‘electric supercar’ status and while there’s plenty of torque available (slightly more than a Ferrari 458 Italia), buyers will need to adjust their expectations over what constitutes the power threshold between fast and very fast. Throughout the i8’s gestation, BMW have been downplaying its performance and focusing instead on the game-changing way it goes about delivering ‘driving pleasure’. The acid test will be whether they’ve judged the level of innovation to match the appetite of potential buyers.
When it reaches the showrooms in early 2014, the BMW i8 will be priced at around £100,000.