BMW i8 Concept Spyder Is Hybrid Sexy, Oh Yes

Eager to get in on the Spyder trend (Audi, Porsche, and Mazda all have similarly named cars) luxury automobile manufacturer BMW has announced a concept vehicle called the i8 Concept Spyder. The new vehicle is very similar to the i8 concept vehicle we covered last summer and noted was part of the marketing behind the movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but slightly different in some key features.

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder is a bit smaller than the i8 it shares so much in common with, a two-seater plug-in hybrid vehicle with an open top and upward-swivel, windowless doors. Made with carbon-fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum components, the new BMW concept is meant to be a lightweight sports model (for an electric car that is, the model still tops 3,5000 pounds) that mimics the fuel efficiency of a small car.

image via BMW

Fitted with the company’s eDrive system comprised of a front-axle electric motor and a back-axle gasoline motor, the i8 Concept Spyder employs a system much like the other models in the luxury line. Propelled by a front-axle 96 kilowatt electric motor and a back-axle turbo-charged, three cylinder, 233 horsepower motor, the car can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just five seconds. While it might technically be able to go faster, the car is electronically capped to a top speed of 155 mph.

The combined electric and gasoline system gives the i8 Concept Spyder an estimated fuel economy of 94 miles per gallon. The lithium-ion battery, situated in the center of the car to give the vehicle a 50:50 weight distribution, can be charged from a standard wall outlet in two hours and allows the car to travel up to 19 miles in pure electric-mode.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.

    • Rob

      If BMW’s intention was to build a sports car that “mimics the fuel efficiency of a small car,” the automaker’s decision to use carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) was a smart one. Because CFRP is lightweight, it can help boost both vehicle performance (lighter cars go faster) and vehicle efficiency (lighter cars use less gas). Thanks for the great write-up, Aaron Colter! And the torque: 406 lb-ft!! Really? Really??? And I thought my little Altima with 181 Ft-lb was zoom zoom. Awesome…..
       
      For more on fuel-efficient cars, visit:  http://www.facebook.com/plasticcar  and http://www.plastics-car.com/s_plasticscar/fuel_economy/Default.html
       
      Rob Krebs, Market Innovations, American Chemistry Council