New BMW i8 – 349 hp, 78 mpg

Emotional, Dynamic and Efficient. Words commonly used to describe BMW vehicles for decades. Now, they’re being used to describe a new direction for BMW vehicles: hybrids and all electric cars.

The BMW i8 specifications sheet reveals an equally impressive and innovative technology.  Acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) comes in under five seconds while offering a fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three liters per 100 kilometers (approx. 94 mpg imp). These figures are currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine. Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8 Concept can travel up to 35 kilometers (approx. 20 miles) on electric power alone. Passengers’ high comfort levels remain a priority for BMW and the 2+2-seater offers enough space for four people, giving it a high level of everyday practicality.

BMW i8, with its innovative plug-in hybrid concept, combines the modified electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept – fitted over its front axle – with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. Working in tandem, they allow the two drive systems to display their respective talents to the fullest, delivering the performance of a sports car, but with the fuel consumption of a small car.

Thanks to the two drive systems, all four wheels of the BMW i8 Concept can be driven at the same time, similarly to an all-wheel-drive vehicle. This solution combines the advantages of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive to ensure the optimal dynamic drive configuration as required. Depending on traction conditions and driving situation, intelligent dynamic driving systems ensure maximum energy recuperation without compromising dynamics and stability. This allows very high levels of energy recuperation even in the wet or in snow.

The design of the BMW i8 Concept is as special as the car’s overall concept, embodying the perfect synthesis of technology and aesthetic allure. Its sweeping lines and flat silhouette lend the vehicle a strikingly dynamic appearance even when standing still. A large, transparent greenhouse lends the exterior an extraordinary feeling of lightness and highlights the exceptional efficiency of this vehicle concept. Short front and rear overhangs round off the sporting overall impression. Despite its dynamic appearance, the 2+2-seater can accommodate four people, giving it a high degree of everyday practicality.

How will the BMW i8 Concept impact the market?

As seen in the past with other BMW vehicles, we believe it will define the market. It will set the bar very high for Fisker with its Karma, and Tesla Motors, if it ever gets the Model S off the ground.  The i8 won’t however be the first to market. The Fisker is expected to roll into production this year while the i8 won’t be available until 2013. When the BMW i8 is released, expect demand to exceed supply.