Monday, November 14, 2011

BMW i8 Concept (2011)

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BMW i8 Concept (2011) first official pictures

By Ben Pulman
First Official Pictures
29 July 2011 11:00
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This is the BMW i8 Concept, a near-production preview of Munich’s new plug-in hybrid supercar. Audi and Mercedes might have stolen a march on BMW with the R8 and SLS respectively, but while its rivals prepare limited-run electric versions of their supercars, BMW is putting this i8 into proper mass production in just two years time. The BMW i8, and its i3 EV sibling, will be revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September.

So this BMW i8 supercar is a plug-in hybrid?

That’s right. The BMW i8 uses a modified version of the electric motor found in the i3, albeit now mounted over its front axle, and tuned to produce 129bhp and 184lb ft. And don’t worry, there’s a petrol engine too: it’s a turbocharged 1.5-litre triple, with 220bhp and 221lb ft being sent to the rear wheels. That means 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and a 155mph top speed, but 104mpg and 66g/km on the official EU fuel cycle.
Like the i3, the i8 features BMW’s new LifeDrive architecture, with aluminium structures and a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell. But rather than the passenger compartment mounted above the lithium-ion batteries – as per the i3 – the low-slung nature of this plug-in supercar means the battery packs run through the middle of the car and is contained in an ‘energy tunnel’ similar to a conventional transmission tunnel.
There are fewer batteries than on the i3, so the EV range is only around 20 miles, but the lithium-ion units can also be charged from a conventional plug in 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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