The new BMW i8 makes its debut this month on the South African market. The new hybrid sportscar went on sale in Germany and the U.S. last year, and it’s slowly starting to roll out in other countries as well.
BMW i8 uses a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a turbocharged three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and BMW eDrive technology in the form of an electric drive system. The 1.5-liter combustion engine develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels of the BMW i8, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric drive sends its power to the front wheels and allows an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).
The innovative vehicle architecture of the BMW i8 comprises two elements: the Life module, the passenger cell made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), and the aluminum Drive module, which incorporates the entire drivetrain and chassis technology. The i8′s layout of chassis and passenger cell is a bit different than the i3′s.. The i8 uses a smaller battery pack and it goes into a central tunnel – again kept as low as possible. The tunnel splits the driver and passenger side of the car. It looks like a central backbone design with sub-frames fore and aft for motors and suspension.
In Germany, the BMW i8 starts at €126,000, while in the UK it costs £ 99,125. The U.S. market gets the BMW i8 at a base price of $135,700.