BMW I8 & I3 World Premier – Munich 29/07/2011


i3 -Mega City Concept

Originally named as the MegaCity concept, the BMW i3 will be the first vehicle produced under the i brand when it arrives next year. Two structures make up both the i3 and i8’s LifeDrive architecture – predictably, the Life aand Drive modules.

As its name would suggest, the Life part of the equation is what contains the driver and passengers, and the platforms have been individually developed for each model. In the case of the i3, a lightweight body structure is made up of a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics, with the Drive module mounted underneath, obviating the need for a transmission tunnel and allowing BMW to install two bench seats for four occupants in the front and back while providing 200 liters (7.06 cubic-feet) of storage.

Underneath that lightweight body lies the Drive system, comprised of the suspension, battery and drivetrain, along with structural and safety components. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery back spans the undercarriage and supplies juice to an electric motor mounted directly above the rear-drive axle. Yup, this a rear-wheel-drive EV hatchback, with the motor putting out 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed gearbox. BMW claims the i3 can reach an electronically limited top speed of 93 miles per hour and make the run from 0-60 in under eight seconds.

An available PRO ECO mode tweaks the throttle and electronics to boost efficiency, and braking regeneration feeds kinetic energy back into the battery pack. Remarkably, BMW also claims that you can charge the battery back to full in six hours using a standard power socket and the i3’s batteries can get to 80 percent in one hour using a high-speed charger (we’ll be getting more details on both very soon).

i8 – Vision Concept

This car was first released in 2009 Frankfurt Motor  Show as the Vision Concept and was spied in Northern Sweden in 2010-2011 (Yellow Snow Edition)

Unlike the standard i3, the i8 will be a plug-in hybrid, with a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder powerplant mounted up front and putting out 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Combined with the electric motor, the run from 0-60 mph is claimed to blow by in under five seconds, with fuel consumption estimated at three liters per 100 kilometers and seven liters per 100 clicks when driven like… well, a BMW.

The three-pot works in tandem with a lithium-ion battery pack and front-mounted electric motor pulled from the i3 and driving the front wheels, allowing an electric-only range of up to 20 miles on a charge. Put both systems together and you’ve got a front-wheel-drive vehicle for maximum efficiency, a rear-driver for maximum fun and all-wheel drive for maximum grip. And if that isn’t enticing enough, the i8 has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

What do you think?

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