BMW i8 — Back to the future

In upcoming Frankfurt motor show, BMW will show a prototype of its new plug-in hybrid sports car i8. And now, a month in advance, we get a small taste of what we can expect. BMW had not previewed the actual car rather it has published some photos of pre- production vehicle in camouflage. However they had revealed technical specifications and information regarding the sportcar. BMW says that the car was not designed as a green car with little extra performance. What it means is i8 is a dynamic sports car that is combined with green technology.

Like BMW i3, i8 has a TFT screen instead of the traditional speedometers. The doors swing up when they are opened just like in a Lamborghini. The body appears to have a unique design with a split wing, presumably to get an extremely low air resistance. Rear seats are available but it is only big enough for small children to use. The driver has a choice of three modes through a switch called ‘Driving Experience Control’, which lets you toggle between Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport modes. In most economical setup, the car range is upto 600 km, and in pure electric mode, BMW i8 is capable to cover 35 miles at a maximum speed of 120 km/h. The battery can be charged in 2 hours with a BMW i Wallbox and 3 hours through a standard electrical outlet. Furthermore, by activating Sport, you change the settings of some elements of the car like engine, gas pedal, maximum retention, cushioning and gearbox. It is also possible to select gears manually with the help of a button.

The four seater hybrid sports car gets a 1.5 liter three-cylinder petrol engine that provides 231 hp. It is assisted by an electric motor that develops 131 hp. The motors can operate individually, but together they give the car a power output of 362 hp and 550 Nm(420 lb-ft) of torque . It may not sound too impressive for a sports car but BMW has compensate the lack of raw power through the use of lightweight materials in the construction of the car. This allows the i8 to accelerate from 0 — 60 mph in 4.5 seconds similar to current generation Porsche 911. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/hr(155 mph). Hybrid powertrain gives an average fuel consumption of 2.5 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 59 g / km. Overall length of the production version will be 4689 mm, width — 1942 mm, height — 1293 mm and wheelbase — 2800 mm. The BMW i8 also registers a drag coefficient of 0.26.

The construction of BMW i8 consists of aluminum, carbon fiber and CFRP(carbon fiber reinforced plastic). Monocoque is CFRP while the front and rear frames are aluminum. With the use of carbon fiber it is possible to reduce 50 percent weight in comparison to steel and 30 percent as compared to Aluminum. Steel screws are replaced by aluminum. The BMW i8 will be the world’s first production car with chemically hardened glass, which is most common in mobile phones. Side windows are manufactured by superimposing two layers of glass 0.7 mm thickness each which is sandwiched between an insulating sheet. As a result, the mass of the model is 1490 pounds, which are distributed between the axles in the ratio of 50:50. Aluminum is also used in independent suspension system. The 20 inch wheels uses a lighter structure made by forging and casting. the tires are narrower and measure 195/50 front and 215/45 rear.

We have seen cars like BMW i8 only in science fiction movies before and had wonder that when these cars would become a reality. Time has come and i8 will be available in showrooms in early 2014 and and BMW have themselves pointed the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S as the nearest competitor. It will cost approximately 1,50,000 USD.

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2014_BMW i8

 

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