BMW Unveils the BMW i8 In Frankfurt at IAA

Posted by: Kenny Chan onSeptember 11th, 2013

Hybrids are the name of the game in today’s automotive world, even when we’re talking about high-end, high-performance supercars. Porsche just unveiled their plug-in hybrid super sportscar, the 918 Spyder, to news that it had smashed the nurburgring record by 14 seconds. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that whenever we heard the word “hybrid” we thought of cars like the Toyota Prius, not nurburgring laptime record holders. While the BMW i8 is not about to set any records, it does reiterate the fact that hybrids and high-performance are not mutually exclusive.

The BMW i8 is a very futuristic looking vehicle, one that I thought would never make it to production when I saw the first concept as it was unveiled. Even though the BMW i8 houses a fairly large lithium-ion battery, it doesn’t weigh much more than the average sports car of this size. This is thanks to the healthy dose of light-weight materials used throughout the i8 including carbon fiber which is used to build the main passenger tub and doors, magnesium used to support the instrument cluster, and an aluminum chassis.

Performance wise, a twin-turbo 1.5L 3-cylinder gas engine puts out 231 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Power from the gas engine is delivered to the rear wheels via a 6-speed automatic gearbox. An electric motor that generates another 131 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque delivers power to the front wheels. The combined hybrid power output is 362 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque resluting in a 0-100km/h sprint of just 4.4 seconds. Fuel consumption is a measly 2.5L / 100km.

Standard creature comforts can all be found on the BMW i8 including navigation, a fully digital instrument cluster, BMW iDrive with a nifty freestanding control display and leather sport seats. The usual gadgets and technology can also be found including Park Distance Control, cruise control with braking function, rain sensor and intelligent emergency call function. High Beam Assistant, a rear view camera, surround view, smeet limit info including no passing info display, collision warning with pedestrian recognition, heads-up display and BMW online entertainment, concierge services and real time traffic information are all available as options.

Pricing in Canada was not announced, but the BMW i8 will set you back $135,700 in the US.

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