The BMW i8 is a 2+2-seater with visionary design and intelligent lightweight construction, which opens the door to both emission-free driving on city roads and sports performance on country roads and motorways. As a new generation sports car, it embodies BMW’s hallmark driving pleasure with a new premium character that is strongly defined by sustainability. Its plug-in hybrid system consists of a highly turbocharged three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine and BMW eDrive technology in the form of an electric drive system likewise developed by the BMW Group, both of which interact via intelligent energy management.
The 1.5-litre combustion engine develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels of the BMW i8, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric drive sends its power to the front wheels and allows an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometres (22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).
Long wheelbase, short overhangs, solid status as it crouches on the street: the BMW i8 has all the characteristics of a full-blooded sports car. The front appears extremely low and wide. Everything is arranged to be optimally aerodynamic. At the same time, the flat, but prominent double kidney grill makes this vehicle’s origins clear. A V-shaped ‘black belt’ starts on the bonnet and dynamically wraps around the bodyshell to the rear.
Viewed from the side, the exaggerated wedge shape, the long drawn-out lines and the flat silhouette underscore the dynamics and fulfil the expectations one has of a sports car. From the front to the rear, the car has a very dynamic, three-dimensional appearance. Surfaces and lines overlap and interlock, a method known as ‘layering’. This joins all the surfaces harmoniously and allows compact and unbelievably agile look. Its monolithic appearance lends the BMW i8 its extraordinarily powerful stature.
Off to a swinging start: the special sports car aspect of the BMW i8 is unmistakeable after just a glance at the spectacular scissor doors. The prominent scissor doors – which swing upwards when opened – are an optical highlight and blend perfectly in the smooth lines of the aerodynamic bodyshell. From the inside, the doors emphasise the entire sporty character of the interior and guide the driver’s gaze forward. The decorative door handle is ergonomically located in the inside of the door panel.
LED Light Design:
LED headlights are standard in the BMW i8 and go perfectly with the exceptional sports car concept. All lighting elements are completely in LED and low-beam and high-beam are widely spaced. The optional high-beam headlights with laser light technology* includes a typical BMW i U-shaped frame, from which the running lights and the built-in indicators are operated. A second, wide light frame surrounds the innovative laser light unit and emphasises its three-dimensionality. a passively lit blue band signalises the lighting unit’s innovative technology. In the equipment with laser light, the headlights have a brilliant metallic side cover rather than a dark one. The overall impression of the light concept is unmistakeably BMW i8.
The consistently sporty look of the exterior is continued seamlessly in the interior of the BMW i8. All elements are light and dynamically positioned. In the interior, the layering principle creates a novel relationship between functionality and clear form. Lightweight construction is implemented visually, for example the visible carbon elements in the door sill highlight its low weight.
A classic sports car character and the typical BMW driver orientation are both equally prominent in the design of the BMW i8. The centre console is aligned towards the driver. All the instruments and signs in the digital instrument panel, with its two large displays, are simple to use. Passengers all sit particularly close to the ground and the narrow lightweight seats provide reliable support and a high level of comfort even when cornering rapidly. The iDrive Controller is conveniently located on the centre console that optically bisects the vehicle.
Colour and material design underscores the guiding idea of a smart, sustainable sports car concept. Three equipment lines – ‘Halo’, ‘Carpo’ and ‘Neso’ – differ in terms of materials used. ‘Halo’ and ‘Carpo’ are full leather equipment; ‘Halo’ is the top of the range and ‘Carpo’ comes in two colours, ‘Ivory White’ and ‘Amido’. The equipment concept ‘Neso’ is the most direct implementation of future-orientated mobility: a pure and clever blend of resource-saving materials that contrast with each other and evoke modern sportiness in every detail. The tanned plant leather – made of olive leaf extract – in the interior and the use of lightweight and recycled materials in all the material concepts proves that sustainability doesn’t herald the end of premium products, but instead, shows where their future lies.
In eDrive mode, the BMW i8 drives completely electrically, while Hybrid mode allows the intelligent combination of two types of drive that provide optimal traction in every situation. The electric drive, a powerful 96 kW (131 hp), is located on the front axle. The rear axle is driven by an authoritative three-cylinder petrol engine with 170 kW (231 hp). All four wheels can be powered simultaneously by two engines and – depending on the driving situation – the advantages of front, rear or al-wheel drive utilised. In extra-urban environments, the fully-fledged all-wheel drive in the BMW i8 comes into its own – at speeds of up to 250 km/h.
A variety of modes for an exceptional driving experience: COMFORT, ECO PRO, SPORT and the eDrive button optimise the vehicle properties of your BMW i8 according to the driving situation. Purely electrical driving is possible up to a range of 35 km as is an extremely athletic sports car feeling in extra-urban areas. Between the two lies the best of both worlds: the petrol engine and electric motor constantly demonstrate that their technical symbiosis is never a compromise.
The i8 should arrive at dealerships early next year.