BMW officially previews i8 hybrid sportscar

BMW i8 prototype

Hot on the heels of its i3 city car, BMW has given an official preview of its i8 plug-in hybrid sportscar ahead of its debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The rear wheels are powered by a 170kW/320Nm 1.5 litre three cylinder turbo and the front axle is powered by a 96kW/250Nm electric motor. The total combined output of the i8 is 266kW/570Nm.

Weighing in at around 1490kg, BMW says the i8 can accelerate to 100km/h in around 4.5 seconds and has a top speed limited to 250km/h. In full electric mode the i8 is limited to 120km/h and has a predicted range range of around 35km. Its overall range will be closer to 500km, thanks largely to the three cylinder petrol engine sipping fuel at the rate of just 2.5l/100km on the combined cycle.

A reliance on carbon-fibre reinforced plastic and aluminium has helped keep weight down, which has been distributed at close to 50:50 over each axle. Slick aerodynamics result in a drag coefficient value of 0.26, which is pretty good.

The i8 can trace its roots back to the spectacular Vision EfficientDynamics, first shown in 2009. Now, almost ready for production, BMW describes the i8 driving experience by saying:

Variable front-rear power splitting in line with changing driving conditions makes for excitingly dynamic cornering. On entering the corner, the power split is biased towards the rear wheels to improve turning precision. For more vigorous acceleration out of the corner, the powertrain controller returns to the default split as soon as the steering angle becomes smaller again.

You can read more about the BMW i8 by downloading the abridged press release (295kb PDF) and we’ll bring you full details at Frankfurt Motor Show time.

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype

BMW i8 prototype