BMW Porsche Video

VIDEO: Porsche 911 Carrera GTS v BMW i8

Porsche 911 GTS v BMW i8

Dan Prosser from Evo magazine presents a very intriguing challenge here by pitting a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS against a BMW i8 on the track.

We’ll let the cat out of the bag early, the i8 couldn’t match the 911 for outright lap times. In fact, it’s not even close. But can the i8 match the 911 for laughs and entertainment? Beyond that, is the i8 a serious dynamic competitor for the 911?

You’ll have to watch the video to find out.

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VIDEO: BMW 1602e

1972 BMW 1602e

Today it’s the i Series range that is forging the way with electric power for BMW. The i3 and i8 look futuristic and modern. Even better they’re pretty good cars to drive as well, by all accounts.

However, it’s this beautiful 1602e that was BMW’s first attempt at an all-electric powered vehicle. Only two were made and they saw active service during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. This short video is a great intro to the car. And that ’02 body shape is just so gorgeous to look at.

Wouldn’t it be seriously cool if you could drive the streets in this 197os beauty with an i3 drivetrain!

BMW Green Machines

BMW i3 wins 2014 Wheels COTY

BMW i3

The BMW i3 has been named the 2014 Wheels Car of the Year. This, we think, is a pretty cool thing.

Yes, it’s expensive for a city runabout. Yes, that makes it out of reach of most people. But, the i3 represents a step forward. It’s not just that it’s not a Prius, but that electric powered cars are still maturing and the technology developed for products like the i3 will benefit all of us as the years go by.

Glenn Butler, Wheels Editor, called the i3 “courageous and convincing,” before adding: “Other brands surely possess the know-how to have created something equally visionary. BMW had the bravery.

“This innovative and compact electric car combines expressive design, impressive engineering, exceptional efficiency and persuasive practicality with a good deal of driver appeal.”

The BMW i3 is the first electric car to win the Wheels COTY and the first BMW to claim the honour.

Also in the top five finalists were the Mazda 2, the Mercedes-Benz C Class, the Peugeot 308 and fellow electric car the Tesla Model S.

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BMW i8 tackles Goodwood FoS hillclimb

BMW i8

Now that the BMW i8 is on sale in Australia this video from the car’s first “dynamic” UK appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed takes on new meaning.

So what is this three-cylinder jobbie with electric sparkles really like? Watch this video to find out. It won’t give you a definitive answer, but it’s still worth watching, even if just to see the impressive line up of supercars the i8 followed up the hill.

BMW Green Machines

BMW i8 touring Australia

BMW i8 in Canberra

A couple of weeks ago BMW Australia announced pricing for the very cool looking and very green i8 hybrid sportscar. It’s three hundred grand if you’re wondering. To promote the Australian sales launch the BMWi “supercar” is touring across the six dealerships in six states who have been nominated as official selling dealers.

Luckily for us here at AUSmotive Rolfe Classic BMW in Canberra made the cut. We received an email last week inviting us along to inspect the car later this week. However, a scheduling bonus meant the Canberra dealer could get the car last Friday and it has been on display since. Word filtered our way quickly, Canberra is a small town after all, and we went along last Saturday for a sticky beak.

The i8 was officially unveiled in Frankfurt late last year and the likes of Chris Harris have described it as “mighty, mighty achievement”.

It’s a plug-in hybrid which sends 170kW/320Nm to the rear wheels, thanks to a fearsome 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol turbo, while the front axle is powered by a 96kW/250Nm electric motor. The total combined output of the i8 is 266kW/570Nm, enough to get the car to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds.

Play nicely and you can almost drive to the moon and back, such is the frugal nature of its fuel consumption (2.1l/100km according to the spec sheet beside the car).

Of course, it’s the flowing lines and dramatic nature of the i8 which hold as much appeal to any petrolhead (or should that be volthead now) as the car’s technical specifications. There’s cleverly crafted nooks and crannies wherever you look and the aesthetic results are plain to see.

The drama only increases when the winged doors open and invite you into the cabin. There’s raw carbon fibre reinforced plastic hinting at the car’s lightweight underbelly before a typically teutonic interior greets you with a few more flashes of personality than you usually see inside a BMW these days.

Although, it’s a shame in a way that much of the car’s futuristic styling is lost with the black Sophisto Grey Brilliant Effect paintwork. That said, the i8 is a beautiful object to admire and we only hope it does good things for BMW on the sales front so that Munich’s bold foray into hybrid sportscars is both encouraged and sustainable.

The i8 is in Canberra until next Tuesday (8 July) and will also visit Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth (it may have visited some or all of those locations already, check with the dealer list below to confirm).

We reckon you should make the effort to check out the i8. For one thing it looks fantastic, but, as a means of providing a long-term solution for the sportcar genre, it’s probably a lot more important than we realise right now.

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Stars fail to align for BMW i3

BMW i3 Euro NCAP crash test

As an all-electric city car the BMW i3 is going to have to deal with its fair share of naysayers and detractors. So word from Euro NCAP saying the i3 failed to achieve a maximum five-star safety rating will come as a blow.

Ever since the Renault Laguna was the first car to score a five-star rating for occupant protection in 2001 such results have become rich marketing fodder for car makers. BMW would have loved to follow Renault’s lead, but these days four stars doesn’t cut the mustard.

According to the Euro NCAP results the i3 rated quite well for occupant protection, scoring 86% and 81% for adult and child protection respectively. Where the electric city car was let down was in pedestrian and safety assist ratings, achieving scores of only 57% and 55%.

In contrast, other cars tested in the “Small family” segment, the Mazda3 and Peugeot 308 both recorded five-star results.

[Source: Euro NCAP]

BMW Green Machines

BMW i3 touring Australia

BMW i3

Early last month BMW Australia took delivery of a pre-production all-electric i3 city car. It’s been touring the country since and was in Canberra this week so I went along to take a look. Unfortunately there was no opportunity to drive the car, or be taken for a drive, so I had to make do with poking and prodding BMW’s first e-car.

The first thing you notice is that the i3 is much bigger than you might expect it to be. This is obvious when you’re alongside it, but also clear when parked in a showroom next to a 4 Series Coupe and an X6, with 3 Series models close by as well.

The i3 is quite tall, thanks mostly to its batteries sitting beneath the cabin floor. This also means the seating position is quite high and you need to step into the cabin with more thought than you would when climbing into a 1 Series or 3 Series, for example.

Inside the i3 you’re greeted at first by a light and pleasant cabin. There’s an immediate premium feel and the timber paneling actually works quite well. On closer inspection, though, there’s quite a lot of sub-premium plastic and felted paneling used (mostly around the doors and behind the dash). From a purely visual point of view these materials don’t stand out, but looking at the scuff marks on the driver’s door sill it doesn’t look as though they will wear well over long-term ownership.

Outside, the i3 does well to look like a BMW, while at the same time looking like nothing else in the model range. There’s a few oddities, like suicide rear doors and the boot is quite small. It is a city runabout, after all. The tyres are sure to be expensive to replace; I can’t imagine 175/60/19s to be very popular at your local tyre outlet.

We’re still around 12 months away from seeing the i3 offered for sale in Australia and you’ll need to be prepared for a price range that won’t be scared of giving $70K a nudge; or beyond if you’re keen with the options.

All in all, though, it’s great to see a company like BMW bringing all-electric vehicles to the premium segment. In real terms such models are still some way from making a significant market impact, but you have to start somewhere and on this inspection the i3 looks to be a pretty good starting point.

BMW Green Machines

BMW i8 unofficial preview

BMW i8

Harry Metcalfe from Evo gives us a very interesting look at the innovative BMW i8 hybrid sportscar with this early drive. Who knew a three cylinder turbo would sound so good inside the cabin!

[Thanks to Tiaan for the tip]

BMW Green Machines

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 Green Machines

BMW i3 revealed

BMW i3

After an early unofficial preview, here is the BMW i3, Munich’s first all-electric city, now car ready for daily duties. It’s the first model in BMW’s i generation, which will also see the i8 sportscar revealed in time.

The i3 was revealed simultaneously at launch events in Beijing, London and New York. Speaking at the New York premiere Norbert Reithofer, BMW Chairman, said: “Innovation drives change. The i3 is more than just a car. It’s a revolutionary step towards sustainable mobility. It is purpose-built around an electric power train to serve the needs of our megacity customers.”

Powered by a lithium-ion battery the i3 produces 125kW/250Nm and can reach 100km/h in 7.2 seconds, top speed is limited to 150km/h. BMW reckons with normal use the four-seat i3 has a range of 130–160km. When driven in its most efficient Eco Pro+ mode the predicted range is 200km.

A 25kW two-cylinder 650cc petrol engine “range extender” is available as an option and increases the claimed maximum distance available in everyday driving to 300km.

Through the use of carbon fibre body panels, along with a carbon fibre passenger cell mated to an aluminium chassis, the i3 weighs in at a relatively lightweight 1195kg.

The i3 is fitted with a tailored version of BMW ConnectedDrive functionality and has a SIM card included, BMW says it’s the “world’s first fully networked electrically powered car.” With the BMW i Remote app you can use your smartphone to check on your i3’s battery status, remotely activate on board systems such as the air conditioning (while charging), send navigation information to the car and more.

Deliveries will commence in Germany and selected European countries from November, with China, Japan, USA and other markets to follow in the first half of 2014. There’s no official word yet on plans for an Australian release, although it’s expected to be on sale mid mid-next year. Expect to pay around $50,000 for your first BMWi experience.

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LA 2012: BMW i3 Concept Coupé

BMW i3 Concept Coupe

BMW unveiled this i3 Concept Coupé at the LA Auto Show and if this is the city car of the future, sign us up. It’s stylish, simple and has a fresh design that is unlike any current BMW on sale. The interior has a pleasing simplicity with a high-quality look. The 20″ wheels of the show car set it off very well too.

The i3 will be the first of BMW’s all-electric i generation models to hit the showroom floor. It’s due for release next year and Australia is on the list of countries to have the i3 on its books. Whether we’ll get the five-door hatch or the coupé you see here is uncertain at this stage.

Like the i3 five-door the coupé version has 125kW/250Nm thanks to its eDrive electric motor. No performance figures have been published for the coupé, but the five-door can reach 100km/h in a tidy 7.9 seconds. The ‘everyday range’ of the i3 is up to 160km from a single charge. The engine can be recharged to 80% in as little as one hour, while a full recharge will take up to six hours.

On-board infotainment capabilities are as 21st century as you could hope for. The ConnectedDrive system offers real-world estimates on available range and battery status as well as mobile phone integration with the BMW i app. This enables the driver to quickly and easily locate the nearest charging station, among other things.

We like it and look forward to its market launch here in Australia.