High power, low weight, and all-wheel drive makes the i8 a true electric supercar.

BMW has teased and re-teased us with the i8 electrified supercar for a long time. Finally, we get to see it in production form after its earlier leaked reveal.

The i8 will feature 2+2 seating surrounded by a carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, purely electric propulsion up to 35 km/h, and a range of 500 km. But, being a sports car, other metrics are much more interesting.

With a combined power output of 362 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, the driveline doesn’t seem to bring a lot to the table. That is until you figure in the low weight of 1,490 kg (3285 lbs) – remember, this is an electric car with batteries – and a Cd of 0.26, making the i8 one slippery mistress.

Powering the i8 will be BMW’s new 1.5L TwinPower turbo four-cylinder (231 hp) and the lithium-ion fed plug-in capable BMW eDrive electric powertrain (131 hp). Power is sent to all four wheels giving this ultimate efficient driving machine a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds.

More details and images below.

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 world’s most forward-looking sports car; revolutionary interpretation of BMW’s 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.

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