BMW i8

Despite previous rumors, BMW is continuing the development of their new i sub-brand. After the i3 was spied last week, our spy photographers have also been able to capture the i8 during hot weather testing in Southern Europe. This time, they have managed to get closer to the i8 and take a couple of shots of the car’s interior.

While the shots aren’t the best, it is easy to see that the production version will drop the concept ’s funky design and will adopt a more conventional layout with elements already seen in the 3-Series and the Z4 .

As for the engine, the production version will combine a 1.5 liter three-cylinder powering the front wheels with two electric motors at the rear for a total output of about 400 HP. The i8 will go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the BMW i8 is all its cracked up to be and not a complete flop. We absolutely love this car, but some signs point to a near fail.

BMW i3

The upcoming BMW i sub-brand has had a few bumps in the road along its way to production, but despite rumors of the project’s termination, BMW is still working towards their goal with at least a couple of the originally planned models. In these spy shots, we can see the new prototypes of the i3 , which have been caught hot weather testing in Southern Europe after previously being spotted in the snow.

The future BMW i3 features the same roof line and window in the C-pillar as seen on the i3 Concept and on previous test models. The i3 will also get suicide doors like the ones on the Clubman and will be built on a new LifeDrive architecture that will help reduce the car’s weight by 550-660 lbs. This architecture consists of two horizontally separated, independent modules: the Drive module which integrates the battery, drive system, and structural and crash functions, and the Life module which consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made from CFRP.

The production i3 will use a powerful 170 HP electric engine that will sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds and up to a top speed of 93 mph. The model is rumored to be priced at about $55K.

BMW i8

We use the Interwebz for all sorts of really cool things. We can shop for groceries, buy Christmas presents, watch movies, stalk people on Facebook, etc. There has always been one thing that we could not do, though, and that is buy a car. Sure, you can add features and order a car until you’re blue in the face, but ultimately, you are still stuck with whatever the dealer has available – or can make a profit on.

Well, BMW is looking to change your car buying experience altogether with a new system that will allow you to actually buy cars online, according to Bloomberg. BMW will start this system with its i-Series , which has been whittled down to just the i8 and i3 , in an attempt to offset high production costs.

This will, of course, start off as just an experiment and grow from there. BMW also has to get a little fancy with how it pulls this off in the U.S., as most states forbid manufacturers from selling directly to buyers (strange law). This will likely include the introduction of third-party sales sites that handle the selling and financing of the vehicles for a much lesser rate than paying a sales person commission.

One other hurdle is how to handle the test drive part, but Tesla has already shown us how to do that: set up a few small retail shops that have a few examples of each model and pay the employees a salary just to take prospective buyers on test drives. Then again, we have doubts about Tesla’s commission-less sales actually working out, but it is a possibility, especially with the end sales occurring online.

Just think... No more greedy F&I guy with his 3-inch-thick gold chain and massive gold rings trying to sell you some outlandish service package that really doesn’t cover anything or costs more than servicing the car normally. What a wonderful concept!

Source: Bloomberg
BMW i8 Concept

While the future of the BMW i-sub-brand is very uncertain at this point, thei8 Concept is still making strides by winning the title of the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year. The selection process involved a total of 34 vehicles and the juries more than likely chose vehicles that would shape the future of the automobile industry in the way they would like to see it.

Now back to the winner. The BMW i8 Concept previews a futuristic hybrid vehicle set to arrive sometime in 2013. The production version will combine a 1.5 liter inline 3-cylinder engine with two electric motors that produce an output of 95 HP each. The final output will be in the 400 HP area.

"With lines that remind me of icy water in a mountain stream, the BMW i8 takes open top driving into a new realm of environmental responsibility, with the mission of the ultimate driving machine firmly embedded," said juror Bill Schaffer. Juror Chris Poole states: "The i8 concept wraps innovative construction and powertrain technologies in a functional, eye-catching new design language that will be exclusive to the upcoming eco sub-brand it previews. It’s an impressive blend of supercar style and speed with future-oriented mpg and emissions performance."

BMW i8

We absolutely love the BMW i8 , we really do, and we are excited to see exactly what BMW brings to showrooms with its anticipated 2013 release. As we sit back and ponder a little bit more about the i8, we begin to notice that the i8 has a pretty good chance of being an absolute flop. Now, before you BMW enthusiasts start picketing in front of the TopSpeed offices, hear us out, and understand that we are just saying there’s a possibility.

So BMW is touting around the 350 to 400 combined horsepower in the i8, but we often glance right past that “combined” word and only see the total output. In reality, the i8 only boasts about 220 ponies and 221 pound-feet of torque from its gasoline power plant. The remaining power comes from the two electric motors powering the front wheels. In addition, this combination is what allows the i8 to hit 60 mph in sub-5-second times.

From what we are told by BMW, the i8 can run on electric power only for about 20 miles and the electric motors are battery powered, which gains no regenerative power from the 3-pot engine in the rear. So once the batteries die, you’re stuck piloting this likely heavy car with only 220 ponies. This becomes even more of an issue, as BMW has kept rather mum on the topic of how far the car will actually go on the combined gas-electric power.

If the batteries discharge, you are not going to sniff a 5-second 0 to 60 time, as a lot of the torque responsible for such lightning-fast acceleration is provided by these electric motors. Sans those electric aids, you are likely looking at a 8- or 9-second sprint to 60 mph, which is rather disappointing in a car that is certain to crest to $100K mark when it hits showrooms.

Again, this is purely just a look ahead at what could potentially make the i8 a bust. We certainly hope that BMW has figured out a way to prevent this from happening.

BMW i8

A few weeks ago, we reported that the fate of the BMW i-sub-brand was uncertain and that BMW had already dropped some of the new i models, including the i1 and the i5 . Thankfully, the company will continue developing the car we have all been waiting for: the i8 .

We’ve already had the pleasure of capturing the i8 during a couple of testing sessions, but now we’ve stripped away the camouflage and created a rendering to see the true beauty of BMW’s new ride. The upcoming i8 supercar will be powered by a 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors for a total output of 400 HP. The engine will be mated to a new double clutch transmission and will sprint the future supercar from 0 to 60 mph in just 4 seconds. The company has promised a fuel economy of 58 MPG and an autonomy of 400 kilometers.

The new BMW i8 will be making its official debut in 2013, so stay tuned!

BMW 3 Series Sedan

We already know that BMW has officially approved the manufacture of its much anticipated hybrid sports car, the i8 and we are well aware that the gasoline engine behind it is a 1.3-liter three-banger that pops out a sweet 223 horsepower. When combined with the electric motor on the front wheels, the i8 hits a healthy 354 ponies.

BMW has just revealed yet another detail on its upcoming i8, and that is that the thee-pot gas burner that powers it will hail from Jolly Ol’ England… Hams Hall factory in Birmingham Birmingham , to be precise. Head of engine development at BMW, Peter Nefischer, mentioned before that the boosted three-cylinder could find its way into the 3-Series in the future and the fact that this engine is being built in the same factory that manufactures the 3-Series engine could add some validity to this possible downsizing of the 3-Series .

With the 328i already coming stock with a 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter, there is no reason that an extended fuel range model boasting this 223-horsepower, 1.3-liter engine cannot become a possibility. Granted, it likely wouldn’t have quite the drivability of the 2.0-liter, but the extended fuel range would help traveling business people a great deal, while still having a little pep in its step. In addition, those 223 ponies still far exceed the paltry 201 ponies pumped out by the Mercedes-Benz C250 .

We can say with some certainty that a three-cylinder 3-Series variant will definitely happen, it’s just a matter of when it happens and how BMW tunes the engine to retain the comfortable feel that the 3-Series is notorious for. We’ll update you if any other news pointing toward a three-banger 3-Series pops up.

BMW i8

BMW is in deep with their upcoming i-brand with the first i3 hatchback set to arrive in 2013 and the i8 to follow in 2014. BMW is counting on these two models to bring in big sales: 100,000 i3 units and 10,000 i8 units, annually. Considering the i3 will be priced at about $45K, these targets shouldn’t be as hard to hit as they sound.

This sounds all fine and dandy, but BMW has hit quite a snag in development. See, the i3 will cost about the same amount as a 335i sedan, but will come with a carbon-fiber body shell, an aluminum platform, a lithium-ion battery, and a rear-mounted 150-hp electric motor. The problem is that, in Europe, things haven’t been looking up in the past few months and BMW i BMW i s hard-pressed to find a country with the money to build the recharging infrastructure. More than that, if things don’t get better, owners may not get as many EV/hybrid tax credits as they would hope.

All in all, it seems as though BMW is at risk of building a car that is way ahead of its time. However, the "good news" is that BMW is still going forward with their new i-brand, frankly due to the fact that dropping it at this point would cost the company billions of dollars. The i3 and i8 models may be delayed due to the recharging infrastructure, but the i1 and the i5 have been dropped entirely.

Let’s check the facts on the BMW i8 . We have learned that the i8 is heading into production and we know that there is an i8 Spyder now in the “concept” phase. One thing we haven’t seen or heard yet is real life driving videos. On April 2nd, Bimmerpost was kind enough to post a video of the i8 Spyder driving in several situations.

The first video is a nighttime drive in an “undisclosed” location, which is obviously Port Boulevard in Miami, right by the Heat’s home court – yeah, we played sleuth and got an actual picture from the exact position the cameraman was in (after the jump). The second video is of the i8 Spyder cruising through a car garage, which again is likely in Miami.

Okay enough of playing detective. This is the first time we have actually gotten good audio of this gasoline-electric hybrid running and it sounds absolutely awesome. In the first video you can hear the turbocharged 1.3-liter engine and the electric motor working in perfect harmony, making the perfect sound for a “future” car. Hearing it makes us think of The Jetsons meet Back to the Future Part II.

What we can’t wait for is the first time they let someone outside of BMW test the i8 and really push it hard. Hearing this car cranking away at high rpm is likely a sweet melody. We’ll just have to wait a while for that. Until then, we can just enjoy the videos.

Click past the jump for additional videos and our crack detective work on Google Maps.

In the past few months, we have seen tons of spy shots for the upcoming BMW i8 Coupe , but not even once have we heard rumors about a possible roadster version of the car. Somehow, BMW has been able to keep a tight lid on this project, but they are now unveiling the first details of the BMW i8 Concept Spyder.

Spyder models are generally top-less versions of their Coupe counterparts, but the new i8 Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length than the i8 Coupe. It has also received laser headlights, a semi-transparent "V" hood, and a rakish windscreen with an integrated spoiler.

Like its coupe brother, the new i8 Spyder combines two different power sources: a 131 HP electric motor on the front axle with a 223 HP turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine on the rear wheels. With a total of 354 HP, the new concept will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 155 mph. While running on electric only, the car has an autonomy of 19 miles.

Hit the jump to read more about the new BMW i8 Concept Spyder.

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