U.S. magazine AutomobileMag names the BMW i8 as the 2014 Design Of The Year.
The upcoming BMW i8 made its debut, in concept form, back in 2009 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Since then, the hybrid sportscar went through a series of iterations before settling on the production design. The car sits on a long wheelbase and it has short overhangs, a typical BMW design feature. The front appears extremely low and wide, and the super hybrid went through an extensive aerodynamic optimization. At the same time, the flat, but prominent double kidney grill makes this vehicle’s origins clear. A V-shaped ‘black belt’ starts on the bonnet and dynamically wraps around the bodyshell to the rear.
Viewed from the side, the exaggerated wedge shape, the long drawn-out lines and the flat silhouette underscore the dynamics and looks of a supercar. From the front to the rear, the car has a very dynamic, three-dimensional appearance. Surfaces and lines overlap and interlock, a method known as ‘layering’. This joins all the surfaces harmoniously and allows compact and unbelievably agile look. Its monolithic appearance lends the BMW i8 its extraordinarily powerful stature.
The special sports car aspect of the BMW i8 is unmistakeable after just a glance at the spectacular scissor doors. The prominent scissor doors swing upwards when opened.
The layering principle applies inside the car as well where the designed managed to create a synergy between functionality and clear form. All elements are light and dynamically positioned. The equipment lines ‘Carpo’ and ‘Neso’ employ the particularly light leather ‘Spheric’. This material, used for the first time in a series-production vehicle, is over 20 per cent lighter than regular leather. Lightweight construction is implemented visually; for example, the visible carbon elements in the door sill highlight its low weight.
It retains the typical BMW driver orientation with the center console aligned towards the driver. All the instruments and signs in the digital instrument panel, with its two large displays, are simple to use. The iDrive Controller is conveniently located on the center console that optically bisects the vehicle.
Here is an excerpt from the AutomobileMag feature:
It has been almost six decades since the world market was offered a fully realized “car of the future,” available to anyone holding the modest sum requested. That was the Citroën DS19, which embodied many of the then-radical features that have become commonplace now. We see the i8 as the contemporary equivalent of that milestone car. The $136,625 BMW represents the kind of luxury/performance vehicle that will be quite common at all price levels in 2074. It sets a new standard for everyday automobiles and is much less extreme in both cost and performance than LaFerrari and the Porsche 918, but it is just as efficient and dazzling in its capabilities.