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First Test Drive: 2015 BMW i8 on Everyman Driver

2015 BMW i8 on Everyman Driver, Dave Erickson Car Reviews

With its ultra-dynamic proportions, elegantly sporty lines, low-slung silhouette and innovative design features, the BMW i8 represents a new generation of sports car. Bringing together hallmark features of the BMW brand with the design language developed specially for BMW i cars creates a progressive aesthetic which faithfully communicates the performance attributes, efficiency and innovative premium character of the plug-in hybrid sports car. The launch of the BMW i8 sees the world’s first sports car to be purpose-built with sustainability in mind complete its journey from vision to reality.

Its unmistakable, emotion-stirring looks can be put down to a prototype design that was first unveiled in the guise of the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, meticulously refined for the BMW i8 Concept exhibited at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and now adopted virtually unchanged for the production version. Both the exterior and interior of the emotionally-led 2+2-seater embody a revolutionary, pioneering take on the Sheer Driving Pleasure for which BMW is renowned. Clean, minimalist lines, homogeneous surfaces defined by a small number of crisp edges and function-focused details underline the forward-looking nature of the BMW i8.


As the second series-produced BMW i model on the road, the BMW i8 also reveals the versatility of the design language which is establishing itself as an unmistakable signature of BMW i cars. Its design signals lightness, safety, efficiency and pure driving pleasure – stand-out qualities that the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car shares with the BMW i3, its pure-electric sibling conceived for agile and comfortable urban driving. The key to this versatility is the innovative LifeDrive architecture, which opens up an exceptional degree of freedom for the design of BMW i cars. The central element of the Life module is the carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell. The Life module is fixed to the aluminium Drive module, which houses all the drive and chassis technology. This distinctive two-way split is reflected on both the outside and the inside of the car by the visible layering and intertwining of different surfaces, with three-dimensional and flowing transitions between the Life module and Drive module accentuating the dynamic appearance of the BMW i8.

Bullet Points:

•Plug-in hybrid system developed and produced by the BMW Group represents the latest development stage of Efficient Dynamics; three cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology combined
with BMW eDrive technology in the form of a hybrid synchronous electric motor; engine with a displacement of 1.5 litres, output of 170 kW/231 hp and maximum torque of 320 Nm (236 lb-ft); power sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox; electric motor with an output of 96 kW/131 hp and maximum torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft); power channelled through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission; lithium-ion high-voltage battery with direct refrigerant cooling and gross capacity of 7.1 kWh.

•Combination of BMW TwinPower Turbo and BMW eDrive technology plus intelligent energy management produce a maximum system output of 266 kW/362 hp and give the BMW i8 the performance characteristics of a pure-bred sports car (0 – 100 km/h / 62 mph in 4.4 seconds) accompanied by fuel economy and emissions figures more familiar from a small car; EU fuel consumption: 2.1 litres per 100 km (approx. 135 mpg imp), CO2 emissions: 49 g/km; exceptional efficiency in everyday driving too, with actual fuel consumption figures that are around 50 per cent lower compared to conventional sports car concepts; “glued-to-theroad” AWD driving experience with torque distribution geared towards optimised dynamics.

•Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button allow driver to choose from five driving modes; range of up to 37 kilometres (23 miles) on electric power alone in EU test cycle and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph); COMFORT mode offers optimum balance between dynamics and efficiency; combined range: up to 600 kilometres (approx. 375 miles) in EU test cycle; SPORT mode with ultra-intense boost function provided by the electric motor and systematic energy recuperation for the high-voltage battery; ECO PRO mode can be used in both all-electric mode and hybrid

• Lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be recharged when stationary from any conventional domestic power socket, the BMW i Wallbox or at public charging stations; possibility of preconditioning the interior temperature and cooling the high-voltage battery while charging from the BMW i Wallbox or at a charging station; charging process can be monitored and controlled remotely by means of the BMW i Remote app for smartphones.

•  Sophisticated chassis technology featuring a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle; Electric Power Steering; Dynamic Damper Control as standard; 20-inch light-alloy wheels as standard. Intelligent lightweight construction with elements including a CFRP passenger cell, doors with a CFRP-aluminium structure, an instrument panel with magnesium supporting structure, an aluminium chassis and a partition between the passenger compartment and boot made from hardened thin glass; comprehensive safety concept and an ultratorsionall stiff passenger cell; front, side and head/curtain airbags, inertiareel seatbelts with belt force limiters front and rear, ISOFIX child seat attachment points and tyre pressure monitoring for each individual wheel as standard; pedestrian alert sound available as an option.

•Extensive standard equipment includes the Navigation System Professional with proactive drive management for all-electric driving, fully digital instrument display for content and presentation formats that adapt according to the driving mode with 3D graphics, 2-zone automatic climate control, BMW iDrive with freestanding 8.8-inch Control Display and Touch Controller, leather sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons, electrically adjustable leather sports seats and leather-trimmed instrument panel; choice of four exterior paint finishes and four interior equipment variants.

•Immediately available at launch from June 2014: BMW i8 with Pure Impulse exclusive package; fully equipped with 20-inch light-alloy wheels, LED headlights with extended features, BMW Head-Up Display, Driving Assistant with Surround View, seatbelts in BMW i Blue, roof liner in Anthracite, electrically adjustable front seats, light package, storage package, anti-theft alarm system, Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system, larger fuel tank; exclusive interior appointments in Spheric full leather in Carum Grey, high-gloss black brake callipers with BMW i Blue highlighting and BMW i logo, ceramic gear selector, floor mats with leather piping and border seam in BMW i Blue, engine cover in leather, door sill strips with laser-etched model designation, plus BMW i Pure Impulse Card for exclusive lifestyle and event offers.

•Groundbreaking display and control concept that is in keeping with the vehicle’s character and adds to the driving experience; individual interpretation of the traditional BMW driver-focused cockpit layout; multifunctional instrument display in bespoke design; instrument panel displays that take their cue from the current driving mode, including threedimensional graphics; sound and light effects when the electric drive is started; dynamic range display in Control Display; perfectly legible supplementary information on powertrain control, driving mode and options for driving as efficiently as possible; the vehicle’s typically straightforward control logic including accompanying graphics also helps with both the process of charging from the BMW i Wallbox and using remote functions via the smartphone app.

• Wide range of BMW ConnectedDrive features: options include BMW Head-Up Display and Driving Assistant package with High Beam Assistant, rear view camera, Surround View, Speed Limit Info including No
Passing Info display and Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function; also available are BMW Online Entertainment and internet access; standard features include Intelligent Emergency Call, BMW ConnectedDrive Services with Concierge Service and Real Time Traffic Information along with mobility services developed specifically for BMW i, such as the BMW i Remote app, BMW TeleServices including Battery Guard and intermodal route guidance.

•Services specifically developed for BMW i as part of the 360° ELECTRIC programme: BMW i Wallbox for convenient battery charging at home, ChargeNow card giving customers a cash-free payment option at public charging stations, innovative mobility services such as ParkNow LongTerm, MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse; flexible mobility solutions thanks to the provision of BMW vehicles to suit requirements; Assistance Services for maintenance, repair and in the event of breakdown; flexible sales concept.

Related Video: Walkaround: 2014 BMW i8 Hybrid on Everyman Driver

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