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.

BMW i8 Concept

There has been much speculation about the potential release of a production version of the i8 that was teased back in February. This time we are being nice and not just teasing you, BMW is releasing this hybrid semi-supercar in 2014.

This release is coming on the heels of Ferrari announcing that it will officially debut its V-12 hybrid Enzo next year, which will bear a similar, though significantly larger, gasoline engine-electric motor setup as the i8 will. It seems with all of these sporty and relatively fast super-Eco cars coming out of the wood work even the big boys are taking a turn toward the green market.

With this sudden push to the green, it may be just a matter of time until the entire supercar realm is dominated by super-electrics, and these hybrids are certainly a push in the right direction. Plus, as automakers start seeing these hybrid and electric supercars, they might decide that their own high performance vehicles, like the Camaro , Mustang and Corvette , can bear electric or hybrid drivetrains and still deliver the performance their customers require.

Hit the jump for more information on the BMW i8.

Source: Car Magazine

BMW has unveiled a new video of their recently announced i line-up. The stars of the video are of course the BMW i3 and BMW i8 concepts. Of course this is just another prove on how cool the two concept look like.

Both concept will be followed by a production version pretty soon: the i3 is expected to arrive in 2013, shortly after the i8 supercar. They will be the first BMW models to feature extensive use of lightweight materials like carbon fiber.

"BMW i stands for visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability. With BMW i BMW i the BMW Group is adopting an all-embracing approach, redefining the understanding of personal mobility with purpose-built vehicle concepts, a focus on sustainability throughout the value chain and a range of complementary mobility services."

BMW i8

Although its been just a few days since we last brought you a series of BMW i8 spy shots, today is time to see the car in action one more time. The good news is that this time the i8 is showing its gullwing doors, a confirmation that they will find their way into the production version of the supercar.

And, as you most likely know the production version i8 will stay faithful to the concept ’s design, with some minor changes so that it can actually go out on the street. Up front you will see elements from the BMW ’s latest design language started by the new 3-Series , while both the headlights and the rear lights will have a different design compared to the concept.

As for the engine, the i8 will combine a 1.5 liter inline 3 engine with two electric motors. Final output will be somewhere in the 400 HP, while the autonomy will be in the 249 miles area.

BMW i8

A few days ago, our spy photographers were able to catch the future BMW i3 during its winter testing in Northern Sweden and now the small electric car has been shelved to give the i8 a chance to do the same. It’s still wearing the same amount of camouflage the i3 was sporting, but a few features peeked through for our viewing pleasure.

The production BMW i8 will generally stay faithful to the concept ’s design, but there are a few changes. The biggest change seems to be the doors and the design of the rear lights. The new design is still unknown, but something is definitely up because the rear lights are completely covered in camouflage. The front end has also been slightly modified, designed in the spirit of BMW’s latest design language started by the new 3-Series .

For the i8’s production version, BMW will combine a 1.5 liter inline 3 engine with two electric motors. Each of the electric motors will push out 95 HP and, when combined with the engine, will leave the final output somewhere in the 400 HP area. It has been rumored that the vehicle’s autonomy will be in the 400km/249 miles area, while fuel economy has been announced at 58 MPG.

BMW i3

Since half of Europe is facing some extreme winter conditions, it’s the perfect opportunity for automakers to get some extreme testing out of the way for a lot of their models. BMW was on deck today with its i3 electric hatchback and some snowy conditions somewhere in Northern Sweden.

The i3 prototype was still heavily camouflaged, but with all of the details already released by BMW , it wasn’t too much of a bother. We already know that the i3 will be powered by a 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. Previous details suggest that the car will be built on a new LifeDrive architecture that will help reduce the car’s weight by 250 to 300 kilos. The coolest part about this little hatchback is that it will sporting suicide doors. That in it and of itself is enough to warrant at least a test drive when the new BMW i3 goes on sale in 2013. Projected price will be about $50,000 (European price). The company plans to build about 30,000 units.

We all knew that BMW ’s future i line-up would include the i3 hatchback and the i8 supercar - both electric vehicles - but new spy shots have revealed that the company is also testing a prototype for an i sedan. This newest i model will be launched after the i3 and the i8, so don’t expect to see it on the market until early 2014.

We think the mysterious i sedan will also be an electric model because, well, the other two are, but also because it looks like there are wheel hub motors, electric motors, powering the front wheels. There is also the fact that the both the fenders in the front and back don’t exactly fit and the vehicle is sporting some really narrow tires. All of these quirks lead us to believe that BMW is working on a bigger sedan within the i-family. No other details have been provided, but expect to see an electric engine delivering a little bit more power than in the i3 (rumored to have a 170 HP electric engine).

Guess Tesla and Fisker just got themselves a real competitor.

UPDATE 01/26/2012: According to reports from AutoBild, BMW is developing the i5 midsized MPV as a model that bridges the gap between the compact i3 and the high-end sports car that is the i8.

Details behind the i5 have yet to be revealed, but as a mid-sized MPV, we’re making guess-timates that it’s going to feature a high roof, sliding rear seats, and maybe even a large cargo space. It could also carry an electric motor similar to the i3 while featuring a similar futuristic design language that plays right into the elements of both the i3 and the i8.

The BMW i5 is expected to be introduced in the coming years, possibly as soon as 2015. We don’t know if that’s soon enough for us, but we’re definitely interested to see how the third member of BMW’s "i" family looks and what kind of powertrain it carries.

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