Video: BMW i8 Hybrid Powertrain Explained in Detail

BMW i, Videos | April 18th, 2016 by 4
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Despite being nearly three years old now, the BMW i8 continues to fascinate us with its design and technology. The hybrid sports car is an instant head-turner wherever it goes and its unmistakable looks have built a cult among the enthusiasts. To illustrate its capabilities and high-tech, the folks at Feature Focus have put together a comprehensive video.

The i8 uses both an internal combustion engine and an electric unit to get you moving. On the front axle you get an electric motor making 131 PS and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque whose sole job is to power the front wheels and, eventually, take you around town emissions free.

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On the rear axle you’ll find a 231 PS and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged engine that is responsible for the more fun part of the game. It is connected to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and only powers the rear wheels. However, the engineers made sure the two can work together, combining the 6-speed gearbox  of the internal combustion engine to the 2-speed one of the electric motor, offering the car up to 362 PS and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) of torque when needed.

Furthermore, by doing so, they managed to create a car that can be both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive as well as – for a short burst – rear-wheel drive. That’s possible because when you’re driving in Eco Pro mode, relying solely on the front electric motor, the rear engine is turned off and the front wheels are the only ones pulling the car around town.

This is also why the i8 is often regarded as the future of the auto industry. Thanks to its lightweight construction – mostly due to CFRP usage – the i8 proved that you don’t need a big engine in order to have fun.

You can still have the cake and eat it, without polluting the surroundings.

4 responses to “Video: BMW i8 Hybrid Powertrain Explained in Detail”

  1. Jake says:

    Looks like they put a lot of work into this. Shame they couldn’t release the i5 before Tesla’s model 3.

  2. Mary J says:

    How is the drivetrain in the new 330e different? Similar? Same? Is the switching between electric and gas motors seamless in the 330e as the i8?

    • Gabriel Nica says:

      The 330e is different by quite a lot. Unlike the i8, it uses an electric motor located within the gearbox, replacing the torque converter. However, the switching between electric and gas is just as seamless as on the i8.

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