BMW i8 Plug-In Hybrid A $135,000+ Investment

BMW, against the backdrop of the Frankfurt Auto Show, has unveiled all the information you need to know about its upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid super car. Are you sitting? if not, you should be because, before you even look at the technical information below, consider that it will cost you a lot for one of these beasts – $135,700 starting – but for that price you get a very slick speed demon that has amazing fuel mileage as well.

image via BMW

image via BMW

Still with me? Great – so what’s the performance of the i8 like? According to BMW,

  • Plug-in hybrid system developed and produced by the BMW Group represents the latest development stage of Efficient Dynamics; debut for three-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, displacement: 1.5 liters, output: 170 kW/231 hp, maximum torque: 320 Nm (236 lb-ft); power sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox; model-specific hybrid synchronous electric motor, output: 96 kW/131 hp, maximum torque: 250 Nm (184 lb-ft); power channeled through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission; lithium-ion high-voltage battery with liquid cooling and usable capacity of 5 kWh.
  • First combination of BMW TwinPower Turbo and BMW eDrive technology plus intelligent energy management produce system output of 266 kW/362 hp (max. torque: 570 Nm / 420 lb-ft) and give the BMW i8 the performance characteristics of a pure-bred sports car (0 – 100 km/h / 62 mph in 4.4 seconds) combined with fuel economy and emissions comparable to a small car – EU fuel consumption: 2.5 litres per 100 km / 94 mpg (US); “glued-to-the-road” AWD driving experience with torque distribution geared towards optimized dynamics.
  • Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button allow driver to choose from five driving modes; range of up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) on electric power alone and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph); COMFORT mode offers optimum balance between dynamics and efficiency; combined range in everyday conditions: over 500 kilometers (310 miles); SPORT mode with ultra-intense boost function provided by the electric motor; ECO PRO mode can be used in both all-electric mode and hybrid mode.

Pretty amazing, don’t you think? It better well be for the sticker shock. As for the rest of the vehicle’s features and specifications, again according to the German automaker

  • 2+2-seater with LifeDrive architecture developed specifically for BMW i, aerodynamically groundbreaking body design and visionary interior design deliver an intense driving experience; Life module passenger cell made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP); drive system technology, high-voltage battery, chassis, and crash and structural functions integrated into the aluminum Drive module; curb weight: 3,285 lbs (1,490 kg); Cd: 0.26; very low center of gravity (below 18 inches/460 millimeters); well-balanced weight distribution.
  • Emotion-led visual impression based around established BMW i design language; classical sports car proportions and fresh interpretation of BMW design features; doors open upwards like wings; clean lines, plus surface design (external and internal) based on the layering principle; full-LED headlights as standard, innovative laser headlights – unique worldwide – available as an option where regulations allow.
  • Sophisticated chassis technology featuring a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle; Electric Power Steering; Dynamic Damper Control comes as standard; 20-inch light-alloy wheels are standard.
  • Intelligent lightweight construction with elements including a CFRP passenger cell, doors with a CFRP-aluminum structure, an instrument panel with magnesium support, an aluminum chassis and a partition between the passenger compartment and boot made from thin glass; comprehensive safety concept and an ultra-torsionally stiff passenger cell.
  • Extensive standard equipment includes the Navigation system Professional with proactive drive system for all-electric driving, fully-digital instrument display, BMW iDrive with freestanding Control Display and leather sports seats; choice of four exterior paint finishes and four interior equipment variants.
  • Wide range of BMW ConnectedDrive features: Park Distance Control, cruise control system with braking function, rain sensor and Intelligent Emergency Call function, optional driver assistance package with High Beam Assistant, a rear view camera, Surround View, Speed Limit Info including No Passing Info display, and Collision Warning with pedestrian recognition and braking function; also available are the Head-Up Display, BMW Online Entertainment, Concierge Services, Real Time Traffic Information and mobility services developed specifically for BMW i, e.g. intermodal route guidance as standard.
  • Services specifically developed for BMW i as part of the 360° ELECTRIC program: BMW i Charging Station for convenient battery charging at home, ChargeNow card giving customers a cash-free payment option at public charging stations as well as innovative mobility services such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse; flexible sales concept enables made-to-measure mobility solutions.
  • All-embracing sustainability concept running like a thread through the value chain; carbon fiber production and vehicle assembly using 100-per cent renewable electricity; high proportion of recycled materials; use of materials manufactured and treated in an environmentally friendly manner.

Plans currently call for the i8 to hit American showrooms next spring, at which time the market will decide whether or not it will support this very expensive plug-in hybrid. It, like the i3, has traveled the route of concept to mass production vehicle over the course of several years, so anticipation has been building to see what BMW brings to this niche market.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.