At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW unveiled one of the most widely anticipated cars in its history – the BMW i8. On most levels, this plug-in hybrid 2+2 sports car is unlike any car ever introduced. It was also announced that the 2014 BMW i8 will have a sticker price of $135,700 in spring of 2014. (This is before any federal or state incentives for which the i8 may qualify.)
BMW i8: The sports car of the future
BMW i stands for the creation of pure-bred vehicle concepts, sustainability throughout the value chain, complementary mobility services and a fresh understanding of premium defined squarely in terms of sustainability. And now the BMW Group can unveil the BMW i8 – a new, cutting-edge generation of sports car. The second model unveiled by the new BMW i brand combines a plug-in hybrid drive system with a passenger cell made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and an aluminum frame for the combustion engine and electric motor, the battery pack and the suspension.
Breaking new ground: premium cars underpinned by sustainability-led concepts arrive in the sports car segment.
The development of BMW i cars follows a revolutionary approach, a strategy focusing on the creation of premium cars purpose-designed to be powered by purely electric or plug-in hybrid drive systems. This electric drive technology (packaged under the BMW eDrive banner) is therefore a central component of the vehicle concept – in contrast to the “conversion” model, where vehicles are retrofitted with electric drive systems. Characteristic BMW driving dynamics coupled with emission-free mobility, precise energy flow management, pioneering design, intelligent lightweight construction and production processes that preserve energy and resources come together to mutually complementary effect to form the innovative, sustainability-led premium character of BMW i cars.
The BMW i8 was conceived from the ground up as a plug-in hybrid sports car boasting agile performance attributes and extraordinary efficiency. Its LifeDrive architecture – developed specifically for BMW i – offers the ideal platform for a weight-minimizing construction, low center of gravity and even weight distribution.
The perfect balance of performance and fuel consumption: the BMW i8 represents an exciting new landmark in Efficient Dynamics.
Thanks to its new futuristic vehicle concept and intelligent drive system management, the BMW i8 strikes the optimum balance between dynamic ability and efficiency in a variety of driving situations.
Its’ 20 plus mile all electric driving range is not what it could be but with their hybrid back up, I think will be sufficient for the BMW i8 since it’s a sports car hybrid more than a hybrid. BMW states 94 mpg so we’ll see what happens when I get to test the car. Yet, we are talking a highly turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and intelligent energy management. The BMW i8 blends the performance of a top-end sports car with fuel economy and emissions levels below even small urban subcompacts.
Sustainability: the reference point for the entire development process.
The BMW Group is also the world’s first carmaker to employ an environmentally friendly process for the treatment of real leather.
For starters, how about having the leather for the seats and instrument panel tanned using olive leaf extract! Bam!
This avoids the creation of environmentally damaging production residue as well as giving the leather a particularly high-quality and natural look.
The cattle hide comes exclusively from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and the natural treatment process takes place in Germany.
This keeps distances to the BMW i8 production facility at BMW Plant Leipzig pleasingly short.
The textile materials used in the interior of the BMW i8 for accent strips on the seats and door trim, the roof liner, the floor mats, the body pillar trim and floor covering are made in a recyclable PET and 40 percent wool.
Like Ford Motor Company, the manufacture of the key for the BMW i8 involves another innovative form of raw material production; its casing is made from a biopolymer, yet BMW used a product based on castor beans.
The oil gained from the beans is mixed with 30 percent glass fiber to make an extremely high-quality and robust material.
Powertrain and driving experience: The best of both worlds
The plug-in hybrid drive system of the BMW i8, which comprises a BMW TwinPower Turbo engine combined with BMW eDrive technology, offers the best of both worlds: excellent potential for improved efficiency and exciting, sporty driving characteristics. The BMW Group has developed not only the internal combustion engine and electric motor in-house but also the power electronics and the battery. This ensures that all these components offer high product and quality standards, based on the outstanding capabilities of the BMW Group in the field of powertrain research and development.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – September 10, 2013 3:00am EDT/12:00am PDT…