A star of the 2009 Frankfurt international motor show, the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics coupe has revolutionized the industry. The four-seat sports car will feature the same unconventional yet charismatic design of the concept along with a hefty dose of sports-car performance and excellent fuel efficiency. The BMW i8, as it will be called, is the first in a new line of “i” cars BMW hopes to bring to the marketplace. They will follow the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and the BMW Active-Hybrid X6 in BMW’s pursuit of more efficient vehicles without sacrificing the superior driving dynamics for which the luxury brand is known. Part of the concept car’s physical allure also helps it achieve its goal of low fuel consumption through well-developed aerodynamics. The car features surfaces that appear to overlap and interlock in a concept BMW calls “layering.” BMW says the perceptible difference in height between the color-coded layers lends the exterior an even more dynamic and three-dimensional appearance. However, the car’s design does not help ingress/egress, so the new BMW i8 takes advantage of large wing doors that open wide to facilitate entry to both the front and rear chairs. We just hope BMW is going to offer an easy way to close the large doors once all the occupants are seated. The interior was designed around its functionality and uses large, transparent surfaces to give the cabin a bright, airy, and open feel.
The use of aluminum and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) helps keep weight down to around 3,200 pounds. The concept was powered by a three-cylinder 1.5-liter turbo diesel at the rear axle and an electric motor at the front. The production car will provide a similar setup, replacing the diesel engine with a fuel-efficient but powerful gasoline unit. The high-performance three-cylinder engine produces 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque alone. Combined with the electric motor’s 129 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and we have a total system output of 349 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. It is good for sprints to 62 mph from a standstill in 4.6 seconds, a 50–75-mph time of 4.0 seconds, and a top speed limited to 155 mph. Thanks to the two drive systems, the BMW i8 can perform like a front-, rear-, or all-wheel-drive vehicle. The BMW i8 Concept can travel up to 22 miles on electric power alone for zero emissions motoring. After the battery is depleted, the gasoline motor will kick in. The concept held a six-gallon fuel tank for a total extended range of up to 435 miles. BMW did not specify the total range for the production car. This i8 offers something for everyone, so check with our dealers for more information.