Next year BMW will introduce their first hybrid sportscar but in the meantime testing of several prototypes continue in Europe.
Dubbed BMW i8, the sporty two-door model uses two different drive systems – an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The electric motor is not a secondary power source, but rather an equal partner of the internal 1.5 liter three cylinder petrol engine. The engine is mounted at the rear and drives via a dual-clutch gearbox.
The car’s minimized weight, low center of gravity and finely judged balance, coupled with a combined system output of up to 354 horsepower.
A 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time comes under five seconds, with a combined fuel consumption in the European test cycle of less than 3 liters/100 km (78 MPG) and average real fuel consumption of between five and seven liters (33 – 47 MPG).
Design wise, the BMW i8 makes use of the layering technique that allows BMW designer to fluently combine different exterior parts, giving the car an equally futuristic and dynamic look. (Here is our interview with the designs of the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept).
BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk says “layered surfacing” creates a more cohesive and harmonious appearance while also optimizing air flow. Complementing the i8′s futuristic exterior design with its “bird wings doors,” the interior of the car has a flowing instrument panel and unique seating arrangement.
BMW i8 will go to market in 2014 and we anticipate a base price point around $160,000.