The BMW i brand is synonymous with visionary mobility concepts and a new definition of premium quality that is strongly focused on sustainability. Following the world debut of the first production model, the BMW i3, the BMW Group’s next step will be to extend this revolutionary answer to the future challenges facing personal mobility to the sports car segment. At a driving event at the BMW Group’s Miramas test track in France, the BMW i brand is now presenting a prototype of its second production vehicle, the BMW i8. This plug-in hybrid model is the most progressive sports car of our time, extending the basic BMW i philosophy of sustainability to a new vehicle segment.
The BMW i8 embodies hallmark BMW driving pleasure in a revolutionary and mould-breaking form. This is reflected in a highly emotive design, dynamic sports car performance, and fuel consumption and emissions figures worthy of a small car. Pairing an exceptionally lightweight, aerodynamically optimised body with cutting-edge BMW eDrive technology, a compact, highly turbocharged 1.5-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and intelligent energy management, the BMW i8 marks the next stage in the evolution of the Efficient Dynamics strategy.
Its revolutionary approach achieves an unprecedented balance between performance and fuel consumption. Thanks to its carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, the BMW i8 sets new standards for a plug-in hybrid vehicle in terms of low weight. It can operate solely on electric power, which means no tailpipe emissions, and offers the dynamic performance of a sports car, with an expected 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 4.5 seconds.
The BMW i8 was designed from the outset as a plug-in hybrid sports car, with the emphasis on agile performance and outstanding efficiency. Its characteristic BMW i LifeDrive architecture provides the best possible basis for lightweight design. Its main components are the aluminium Drive module, which incorporates the internal combustion engine and electric motor, the battery, the power electronics and the chassis components, along with structural and crash functions, and the Life module, which essentially comprises the 2+2-seater CFRP passenger cell. This architecture also gives the BMW i8 a very low centre of gravity and a near-perfect 50:50 axle load ratio, both of which increase its agility.
The BMW i8’s plug-in hybrid system is specific to this model. Developed and produced by the BMW Group, it marks the next step in the evolution of the Efficient Dynamics programme. A compact three-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology is combined with an electric drive system and a lithium-ion battery which can be recharged at a standard household power socket. The 170 kW/231 hp petrol engine sends its power to the rear wheels, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric motor powers the front wheels.
This configuration offers all-electric driving capability with a range of up to 35 kilometres (approx. 22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph). With both drive systems engaged, it also offers road-hugging all-wheel-drive performance with powerful acceleration and dynamic torque vectoring during sporty cornering. The more powerful of the two powerplants drives the rear wheels. The hybrid system supplements this with power from the electric motor to deliver typical BMW driving pleasure combined with groundbreaking efficiency. Calculated using the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, the average fuel consumption of the BMW i8 at model launch will be less than 2.5 litres/100 km (over 113 mpg) with CO2 emissions of less than 59 grams per kilometre.