If the BMW i3 is the daily-driver model of BMW’s new ‘i’ division, then the i8 is the weekend toy. The BMW i8 is a futuristic-looking sportscar which is more or less a carbon-copy of the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept from 2009. There are a few differences, between the two in the looks department, mainly down the sides, where the window lines and defining blue stripe have been slightly tweaked, and at the front where the blue colored grille has been replaced with a more sensible black one.
The BMW i8 even shares a similar hybrid drivetrain as its predecessor – but for the i8 BMW’s engineers have managed to squeeze out some extra grunt. The i8 comes fitted with a 220 horsepower 3-cylinder engine which drives the rear wheels, and a modified electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept which drives the front wheels. With this setup the BMW i8 can reach 62 mph (100km/h) from a standing start in under 5 seconds. At the same time the i8 (albeit driven more conservatively!) only requires three litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in the European cycle (approx. 94 mpg).
Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8 Concept can travel up to 20 miles (35 kilometres) on electric power alone. Added to which, the 2+2 interior configuration offers enough space for four people, giving it a high level of everyday practicality.
The LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept has been carefully adapted to enhance the vehicle’s sports car character. The electric motor in the front axle module and combustion engine at the rear are connected by something BMW has decided to call an “energy tunnel” (the rest of the world calls it a “transmission tunnel”, or in layman’s terms “that hump down the middle”), which houses the high-voltage battery. This layout gives the i8 a low centre of gravity – and the dynamic benefits that come with it. Because BMW’s engineers have been careful to balance out the heavier components, like the motors and batteries, the i8 has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
The sporting character of the BMW i8 is continued over on the interior. There is a driver-focused cockpit which is designed to heighten the unique hybrid-supercar driving experience.
Source: BMW i