The new BMW i3 and i8 concepts made their North American debut at the 2011 LA Auto Show. The pure electric and premium hybrid were the main attraction at the BMW stand. To celebrate its US debut, as well as its Hollywood debut in Tom Cruise’ Mission Impossible 4, the Munich-based automaker invited actress Paula Patton to unveil the i8.
Initially previewed by the Vision EfficientDynamics (Vision ED) concept back in 2009, the super-sporty two-door i8 has already undergone two years of intensive development. The major change is a new 1.5 liter petrol engine replacing the initial diesel unit of same capacity. The engine is mounted at the rear and drives via a dual-clutch gearbox.
The i8 Concept combines the advantages of 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 combustion engine.
The weight of 1480kg is the equivalent to a power-to-weight ratio of 236 horsepower per 1000 kilograms.
BMW i8 measures 4632mm in length, 1955mm in width and 1280mm in height, comparable to the 3 Series coupe in dimensions. 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 litres/100 km (approx. 94 mpg imp) and average real fuel consumption of between five and seven litres (40 – 56 mpg imp).
The BMW i3 provides four adult occupants with excellent all-round visibility, as well as an impressive 200 liters of luggage space behind the rear seats. At 3845mm in length, 2011mm in width and 1537mm in height, the five-door i3 is 120mm longer, 326mm wider and 132mm higher than the Mini One.
The plug-in system is a compact electric motor mounted over the rear axle. It draws energy from the battery to provide drive to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The i3 will be offered with an optional range extender powertrain (called REx) to satisfy those with longer commutes.
The i3 uses an electric motor over the rear axle generating an output of 125 kW/170 hp and impressive torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft). BMW i3 Concept accelerates from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds and from still to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than eight seconds. The electric vehicle has a driving range between 85 and 100 miles on a single charge.
BMW will launch the i3 “city vehicle” in 2013, followed a year later by the premium hybrid sportscar.