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Promising a “new era of sustainable performance” BMW has revealed its long awaited i8 plug-in hybrid sports car today at the Frankfurt Motor Show. |
After scores of chances to see the concept, spy photos and a slow trickle of information, the production car has finally been uncovered. Power comes from a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged 231-hp engine and is directed to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Even more output heads to the front wheels courtesy of a 131-hp electric motor through a two-stage automatic transmission for a combined total output of 362 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.
In a world where turbocharged four-cylinder engines are making as much as 355 hp – CLA45 AMG, we’re looking at you – that sort of power might seem a little less than impressive. But BMW is playing the power-to-weight game by using a host of lightweight materials including carbon fiber monocoque chassis.
The i8 will run from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.4 seconds. Again, that isn’t exactly warp speed compared to modern supercars, but once again BMW has an answer.
“What is handling,” the response might be if this were a segment on Jeopardy. It isn’t, but being able to keep speed in corners is still just as valuable, and the i8 will probably prove to be more than capable of doing exactly that. For example, weight distribution is even between the front and rear. The windows are made of the same Gorilla Glass found on an iPhone, and even some of the car’s wiring is made of aluminum in the name of weight savings.
At just under 3,300 lbs, its still a bit heftier than a Porsche 911, but in Sport mode, the car accesses its powertrian’s full output.
There’s also the added fuel economy advantage, with this green machine getting a claimed 94 MPG on the European Test Cycle (US EPA estimates will be less generous). Either way, BMW promises 22 miles of emissions free travel and a total range of 310 miles.
Charging the car’s batteries will take roughly four hours from a conventional household outlet, while a quick charger will drop that time to a more reasonable 1.5 hours.
Pricing for the new i8 is set at $135,925 making it the second most expensive BMW money can buy. And after a long wait, you will be able to buy it soon, with the car set to hit dealers in the Spring of 2014.
If BMW’s obsessive attention to materials has anything to say, the i8 should stack up to be quite a performer.
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