World Debut: BMW i8 [Photo Gallery]
So, let's first take a look at the technical specs, since that's what interests us the most. Previously, BMW stated that the i8 will be an under 4.5 seconds car and it is, not by far but it is, reaching 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds.
The aerodynamic coefficient was a very important issue in developing this car and is the main reason why the i8 actually looks this way (we'll talk about the design further on), to help it reach a value of just 0.26, whilst the weight of the car is of 1,490 kg (3,285 lbs).
The power is ensured by 2 motors, one with internal combustion and one electrical. The internal combustion engine is the first one of the B38 3-cylinder 1.5-liter family, making its world debut on the i8. It develops 231 HP and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque.
On the other hand, the electric unit develops 131 HP and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque, from the moment you touch the pedal. Therefore, the two units combined develop 362 HP and 570 Nm (420 lb-ft) of torque, giving the i8 an amazing fuel consumption of just 2.5 l/100km (94 mpg).
The car will be fitted with standard LED headlights for the perfect balance between power consumption and efficiency whilst also giving the car a look like no other BMW that came before it.
Actually, as you might've noticed, the i8 looks a lot like the Concept car unveiled in 2011, lest the transparent doors. The butterfly doors create a dashing effect whenever they are opened.
A feature that will be seen on all BMW i models is the so-called "Black Belt". On the i8 this design cue will have the shape of the letter 'V' starting from the hood and going all the way up the roof and over to the back side of the car.
As seen on all recent BMWs too, the headlights are connected to the front kidney grille that has blue accents, just like the i3 before it, in a true BMW i fashion, just like the U-shaped LED lights are also.
The rear end is low slung and wide, accentuating the sporty character of the car. You'll immediately spot the sculpted rear wheel arches, a feature noticed on the 2009 VISION concept for the first time and that remained on the final, production car.
Because of this unusual design of the back, the taillights alongside the reflectors and rear diffuser create a single visual unit with similar BMW i U-shaped design. At the same time, the direction indicators are integrated into the taillights.
On the inside you'll notice the new car is following in the footsteps of the first electric vehicle from BMW, the i3, featuring innovative materials too, pointing to a new era in sustainable mobility.
Of course, as in any other BMW, the driver oriented design is paramount and present in the i8 too. The driving position is very low as is the one of the passenger and the rear occupants, inside lightweight seats.
The range of materials used on the interior is impressive and the leather is treated with olive oil before being applied to the car, to further increase the durability. Areas of exposed CFRP are visible inside the car, especially in the back.
Another innovative approach is moving the Start/Stop button away from the dash and onto the central console, next to the gearshift lever, the eDrive button and the Driving Experience Control.
Of course, the new i8 will be available in 3 lines of equipment called Neso, Carpo and the most luxurious one, Halo. Prices start at $135,700 in the US, £99,125 in the UK and €126,000 in Germany.
❐ Check out the BMW i8 Official Photos photo gallery