In the past few years everyone’s focus has been on improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, new regulations are popping up all over the world pushing every auto maker to think of new environmental solutions and BMW is among the first to announce an impressive solution for the future. Their new "i" brand " is about the development of visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design, and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability."
The first concept announced in the new i line-up is the i8 - a preview version of the production model set to follow in 2013. The BMW i8 Concept is a sports car that features intelligent and innovative technology. It is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car and features a unique plug-in hybrid solution that combines a combustion engine and an electric drive system to create an extraordinary driving experience complemented by extremely low fuel consumption and emissions.
UPDATE 09/16/2011: During its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show BMW officials have confirmed that a production version of the i8 will arrive in 2014. That was the good news. The bad news is that despite the fact that the production version will keep most of the concept’s powertrain features, the exterior and interior will be heavily modified. (AutoGuide)
UPDATE 12/23/2011: The new BMW i8 Concept has been the star in the latest Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol movie. Today we have added new images from the red carpet of the film’s U.S. premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. Enjoy!
Hit the jump to read more about the BMW i8 Concept.
The new i8’s design language continues from where the Vision EfficientDynamics concept left. The most impressive feature of the new concept is the upward-swiveling doors fixed to the A-pillars that underline the car’s sporting capability and opens up access to the front and rear seats at the same time.
The new i8 Concept features CFRP components made from resonated carbon fiber weave, a process that began in BMW’s new M3 CRT. At the front of the i8 there is a stylistically modified and strikingly individual update on the kidney grille theme, with a blue background, distinctively shaped LED headlights at the outer edges of the front end, and the absence of the large cooling air intakes. The i8 features a transparent roof that reveals the intricate CFRP structure of the roof, but at the same time offers an optimum view out of the cars and allow the passengers inside to experience the outside world while on the move.
The concept also ensures an extremely low drag and impressive aerodynamics. For this, BMW has placed a series of air inlets that allow the air to flow through and around the vehicle and also allows airflow at the rear of the vehicle. Intakes behind the passenger cell and at the rear provide a cooling flow of air through the engine compartment, while outlets in the rear diffuser and the flow of air around the rear wheels ensure the car is extremely efficient in terms of lift and down-force at both axles.
The concept combines a Silver Flow shade of light silver and high-gloss Black contrasting with a bright Stream Blue used in the logo, the kidney grille, door sills, and rear apron.
The interior combines the same sporty character of the exterior with state of the art technologies. The i8 features one of the most impressive driver-focused environments that has ever been offered in a BMW vehicle. The purpose-built driver’s position is geared squarely towards the person at the wheel and gives optimum access to all information and controls. The three-dimensional displays are crystal clear and flash up the relevant information for the driving situation at hand.
The interior consists of three different levels each colored in a different color to indicate which functions they accommodate. The first one, the outer layer, is white and forms the supporting structure for all interior geometries. The inner layer is the function-oriented level and opens up features such as seat surfaces and storage areas. A black level is being placed between the inner and outer layer and incorporates the technical components. It creates a visual link between the instrument panel, steering column, steering wheel (including instrument cluster), central information display (CID), and controls.
The BMW i8 is being offered with two different drive systems – an electric motor and an internal combustion engine that can be used together or separate. As a plug-in vehicle, the i8 will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds and will offer a fuel economy of 94 mpg.
The electric motors drive the front axle, while the 220 HP turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine developing up to 221 lb-ft of torque drives the rear axle. The two motors will ensure the i8 will be capable of a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited).
The electric motor is being supplied by a battery system installed between the front and rear axle modules and will provide an autonomy of 20 miles.
When will the production version follow?
This is just a first concept version of the production i8 set to be revealed sometime in 2013.
Despite the fact the i8 features one of the most innovation technologies currently available on the market, they are not the first ones to offer high-performance hybrid cars. Audi is also preparing an electric version of the R8, while Mercedes is currently developing the SLS AMG E-Cell.
The competition will be anything but an easy match, but, if BMW stays true to this concept, the i8 will be one of the more successful vehicles on the market.
Great performance numbers
Just a concept for now
Production model probably won’t have all of the cool features