BMW’s flagship hybrid supercar looks cool in Scandinavia! Our spies captured the first pictures of this prototype for BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid supercar undergoing cold weather testing.
The first phase of testing was undertaken using a mixture of composite body panels that looked like the previous generation BMW 6-Series.
But now the i8 has appeared for the first time, its resemblance to the concept Vision EfficientDynamics that was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 is clear.
Just like the concept, the production i8 is expected to be powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine. However, the road-going model will be petrol powered rather than diesel, because US and Asian markets don’t go for oil burners. This will be supplemented by the same compact electric motor from the i3 supermini
that generates over 140bhp, and drive the rear wheels through a twin-clutch gearbox.
Although the engine has been downsized, the i8 won’t lack performance, and has been benchmarked against the current M3, which sprints from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph.
The extra pace comes from the fact that the i8 will be built using BMW’s new lightweight LifeDrive architecture which uses aluminium to mount the engine and drivetrain, while the passenger cell is made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The reduced weight and small powerplant are also designed to deliver excellent emissions performance, so while the car goes like an M3, it will also return around 75mpg and has sub-100g/km carbon dioxide.
The car will be built at BMW’s new e-plant at its Leipzig factory, alongside the i3 supermini
, while the CFRP sections come from either a factory in the US or Germany. The i8 is expected to go on sale in late 2013, with a price tag of around £150,000.