The BMW i8 still fascinates a lot of car enthusiasts to this day and rightfully so. The plug-in hybrid sportscar is the result of years of research and a massive $2 billion investment from BMW into not only two brand new cars but a foundation for the future, mostly thanks to its new CFRP plant located in the US.
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However, leaving all those details behind, the i8 is mainly attractive due to what it offers, not how it came to life. Its plug-in drivetrain is being studied by engineers today and still fascinates the i8 drivers with its seamless migration between power sources. As the animation below will show you, the car relies on two different motors to get around, also being BMW’s first front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive model at the same time.
When running in ECO Pro mode, the car uses only its 131 PS electric motor that power the front axle, being by all accounts and purposes a front-wheel drive car. Thanks to the two-stage gearbox and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque, the i8 can reach speeds of up to 75 mph in EV mode and cover up to 30 km (19 miles) according to the NEDC testing procedure.
However, when you want to access all the power at hand, all you need to do is press the pedal to the metal. This will automatically kick start the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged engine mounted on the rear axle, good for 231 PS and 320 Nm (216 lb-ft) of torque. The two motors can work together, making the i8 a 362 PS car with 570 Nm (420 lb-ft) of torque that’s also all-wheel drive and can accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill in 4.4 seconds.
Other elements like the drag coefficient or the special-sized wheels are also detailed in the video below.