While 99-percent of the ecologically conscious population could only afford a Chevy Volt, a Nissan Leaf or perhaps a BMW i3 electric car, the one-percent will feel green and speedy inside their new BMW i8, a 95 miles-per-gallon sports beast capable of doing 0-60mph in under 4.5 seconds. Here's a preview.
The BMW i3 electric city car uses some fascinating new technology, but early reviews have said its sporting credentials aren't quite up to snuff. BMW says that won't be the case with their upcoming BMW i8 sports car. Here's the glorious powertrain along with some new specs.
The new info confirms and further fleshes out some details we already knew about the i8 as it edges closer to production. BMW makes a bold claim with the i8 — they say it will be "the most progressive sports car of our time." (The production version will come with a full body on it, according to our sources, not just the powertrain pictured here.)
They say the car will pack a 1.5-liter turbocharged three cylinder engine that sends 231 horsepower to the rear wheels while an electric motor sends 131 horsepower to the front wheels. BMW says the torque vectoring AWD system will make for some kickass road performance. They say the car will have a maximum combined rating of 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
The newest zero to 60 mph time is now quoted as under 4.5 seconds, which is faster than their previous claims. They're also saying the plug-in hybrid will achieve 95 miles per gallon on the U.S. cycle. If all these claims turn out to be true — and given how incredible they are, I'm still a bit skeptical — this could be a truly amazing machine.
Like the i3, the i8 will use a lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell, which they say goes a long way to keeping weight down to a respectable 3,285 pounds. Not exactly a super-lightweight sports car, but considering how heavy electric running gear can be, it's not bad.
Expect to see the debut of the production i8 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. This should be mighty interesting.