In an unexpected turn of events, Autocar reports that the upcoming 2014 BMW i8 will receive a gasoline engine instead of the 3-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine the current prototype is using. The UK magazine quotes R&D chief Dr. Klaus Draeger who said “as we want to sell it all over the world. Diesel is only really relevant to Europe”.
The news come as a surprise to us since BMW has advertised quite a bit the three-cylinder diesel engine, and in a recent interview with BMWBLOG, Dr. Philip Koehn, BMW Vice President Total Vehicle Architecture and Vehicle Concepts, said BMW chose diesel engine since it is the smallest engine available for a BMW vehicle at the moment. “The car became very efficient, the power required to maintain 155 mph is only 120 kilowatts, and we chose the smallest engine we could find in the whole company which would precisely deliver 120 kilowatts. The engine is a prototype and has never been used in a car. I believe it’s called “Engine 1″.
When it was first unveiled to the world at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW introduced the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept with a 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine rear/mid-mounted. The diesel engine was said to be aided by a second electric motor residing between the turbodiesel engine and the 6-Speed DCT gearbox. The 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine outputs 163 horsepower and 214 lb-ft. of torque. The rear-mounted electric motor produces 33 horsepower continuously(51 hp peak) and maximum torque of 214 lb-ft. The synchronous electric motor placed at the front axle constantly outputs 80 horsepower. Extra power of 112 hp is available for 30 seconds and for 10 seconds, 139 horsepower. Total torque: 162 lb-ft.
Dr. Draeger did not indicate which gasoline engine will be used in conjunction with the electric motors, most likely one of the new four-cylinder turbo engines or a brand-new three-cylinder co-developed with BMW Motorrad.
On the same topic, Ian Robertson, Sales and Marketing boss, said the i8 would become BMW’s “halo” car when it is launched in 2013. “i8 will be a pinnacle car for the BMW brand as a whole, not just the i brand,’” he said. “BMW is about being premium, leading-edge technology and sportiness and this is a real halo product for us.”
BMW i8 will be built under the umbrella of Project i and assembled at the Leipzig plant in Germany. Speaking at the official launch of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe in London last year, Ian Robertson indicated that the price for BMW i8 would be “less than £150,000 ($240,000),” which suggests a U.S. price of around $200,000. This puts the BMW VED in a segment with the upcoming 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Cell.