We recently published some pictures of BMW’s upcoming hybrid sports car, the i8, testing up in the arctic circle.
With its 220bhp 221lb-ft (300Nm) three cylinder petrol engine sat directly over and powering the rear wheels, and a 129bhp 184lb-ft (250Nm) electric motor sat on top of and powering the front wheels, the i8 offers a combined output of nearly 350bhp and 405lb- ft (550Nm) of torque.
That’s power enough to propel the car to 62mph in under 5 seconds and onto a top speed of 155mph. All this, yet the i8 will do almost 100mpg and on a combined cycle puts out only 99grams of CO2 per km. This allows for Congestion Charge-free driving though London and negates the need to pay for a UK tax disk. You can even drive on just electric power for up to 22 miles from a full charge and BMW promise us a full charge will take only 2 hours at a standard power socket. These figures could make the i8 one of the most interesting new cars of the next few years.
I really do believe that the BMW i8 will be the first, real petrolhead’s everyday hybrid hero. Imagine; you can cruise around town for free, on electric power alone. You could then take a long drive to the country, at nearly 100mpg.
Then at the weekend, take advantage of the perfect 50/50 weight balance, low centre of gravity, and powerful hybrid power plant for a hugely rewarding ‘enthusiastic’ drive. It’s a 2+2 as well, so you’ll be able to squeeze a pair of short children in the back. Perfect.
This is a great new direction for hybrid power. BMW are showing that hybrid power isn’t just for miserly Honda Insights and Toyota Priuses (or is that Pri’i? Maybe just Prius?), it’s a system which can be used to make amazing sports cars more useful in the real world.
Ultimately it gives hope. We’ve been told for a long time now that the future will be full of hybrid or electric cars, and so far these cars have either been boring cars for those outwardly concerned about the environment, or electric cars which just don’t have the range to function in a world where you might decide you want to drive further than the local shops and back in any given 24 hour period.
BMW aren’t the only people looking into hybrid sports cars though, there’s also Audi with their e- Tron Spyder, and Porsche with their 918 Spyder. The Audi has a 296bhp 3 litre TDI V6 for the rear wheels, an 86bhp electric motor for the fronts, and a face only a blind mother could love.
The Porsche is achingly beautiful and powered by a 716 3.4 litre V8 Petrol engine at the back, and 218bhp electric set-up at the front. Unfortunately you wouldn’t choose either of these; the Audi is just too ugly, and the Porsche will be both sold out and too expensive.
In terms of design, the i8 looks brilliant. It will probably be dulled down slightly from the concept we are used to seeing now. Our spy photos of the camouflaged prototype seem to show that the production version will predictably loose the glass doors, and the windscreen will be of a more standard design. But the general shape looks similar and BMW seem have to retained the awesome rear/side floating spoiler.
BMW are saying that the i8 will be launched in 2014. They seem to be rather proud of it too, and aren’t afraid to spend money on advertising, paying big bucks for it to be featured in the recent Mission Impossible movie and even showing it in their mainstream brand adverts.
I think it’s going to be very special indeed, and you know what; if its good enough for Ethan Hunt, it’s good enough for me. Now, I just need to find the rumoured £100k its going to cost.
Source:- Richard Major