Henrik Wenders, talked to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com about the BMW i8: a new generation sports car.
The BMW i8 is a 2+2-seater with visionary design and intelligent lightweight construction, which opens the door to both emission-free driving on city roads and sports performance on country roads and motorways. As a new generation sports car, it embodies BMWs hallmark driving pleasure with a new premium character that is strongly defined by sustainability. Its plug-in hybrid system consists of a highly turbocharged three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and BMW eDrive technology in the form of an electric drive system likewise developed by the BMW Group, both of which interact via intelligent energy management.
The 1.5-litre 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 it’s power to the front wheels and allows an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).
The BMW i8. At a glance.
World premiere for the BMW i8, the second model from new brand BMW i. First plug-in hybrid vehicle from the BMW Group and worlds most forward-looking sports car; revolutionary interpretation of BMWs hallmark driving pleasure; groundbreaking premium character clearly defined in terms of sustainability.
2+2-seater with LifeDrive architecture developed specifically for BMW i, aerodynamically groundbreaking body design and visionary interior design deliver an intense driving experience; Life module passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP); drive system technology, high-voltage battery, chassis, and crash and structural functions integrated into the aluminium Drive module; kerb weight: 1,490 kilograms; Cd: 0.26; very low centre of gravity (below 460 millimetres); well-balanced weight distribution.
Emotion-led visual impression based around established BMW i design language; classical sports car proportions and fresh interpretation of BMW design features; doors open upwards like wings; clean lines, plus surface design (external and internal) based on the layering principle; full-LED headlights as standard, innovative laser headlights “ unique worldwide “ available as an option.
Plug-in hybrid system developed and produced by the BMW Group represents the latest development stage of Efficient Dynamics; debut for three-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, displacement: 1.5 litres, output: 170 kW/231 hp, maximum torque: 320 Nm (236 lb-ft); power sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox; model-specific hybrid synchronous electric motor, output: 96 kW/131 hp, maximum torque: 250 Nm (184 lb-ft); power channelled through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission; lithium-ion high-voltage battery with liquid cooling and usable capacity of 5 kWh.
Combination of BMW TwinPower Turbo and BMW eDrive technology plus intelligent energy management produce system output of 266 kW/362 hp (max. torque: 570 Nm / 420 lb-ft) and give the BMW i8 the performance characteristics of a pure-bred sports car (0 “ 100 km/h / 62 mph in 4.4 seconds) combined with fuel economy and emissions figures more familiar from a small car (EU fuel consumption: 2.5 litres per 100 km / 113 mpg imp); “glued-to-the-road” AWD driving experience with torque distribution geared towards optimised dynamics.
Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button allow driver to choose from five driving modes; range of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) on electric power alone and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph); COMFORT mode offers optimum balance between dynamics and efficiency; combined range in everyday conditions: over 500 kilometres (310 miles); SPORT mode with ultra-intense boost function provided by the electric motor; ECO PRO mode can be used in both all-electric mode and hybrid mode.
Sophisticated chassis technology featuring a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle; Electric Power Steering; Dynamic Damper Control comes as standard; 20-inch light-alloy wheels are standard, carbon wheels are optional.
Intelligent lightweight construction with elements including a CFRP passenger cell, doors with a CFRP-aluminium structure, an instrument panel with magnesium support, an aluminium chassis and a partition between the passenger compartment and boot made from thin glass; comprehensive safety concept and an ultra-torsionally stiff passenger cell.
Extensive standard equipment includes the Navigation system Professional with proactive drive system for all-electric driving, fully-digital instrument display, BMW iDrive with freestanding Control Display and leather sports seats; choice of four exterior paint finishes and four interior equipment variants.
Wide range of BMW ConnectedDrive features: Park Distance Control, cruise control system with braking function, rain sensor and Intelligent Emergency Call function as standard; optional driver assistance package with High Beam Assistant, a rear view camera, Surround View, Speed Limit Info including No Passing Info display, and Collision Warning with pedestrian recognition and braking function; also available are the Head-Up Display, BMW Online Entertainment, Concierge Services, Real Time Traffic Information and mobility services developed specifically for BMW i, e.g. intermodal route guidance.
Services specifically developed for BMW i as part of the 360° ELECTRIC programme: BMW i Wallbox for convenient battery charging at home, ChargeNow card giving customers a cash-free payment option at public charging stations, innovative mobility services such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse; flexible sales concept enables made-to-measure mobility solutions.
All-embracing sustainability concept running like a thread through the value chain; carbon fibre production and vehicle assembly using 100-per cent renewable electricity; high proportion of recycled materials; use of materials manufactured and treated in an environmentally friendly manner.