The best of both worlds

The BMW i8 embodies a revolutionary, future-focused interpretation of the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned. It was purpose-designed as a plug-in-hybrid sports car offering agile performance and outstanding efficiency. An exceptionally lightweight and aerodynamically optimised body – including a passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – plus advanced BMW eDrive drive system technology, a compact, highly turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and intelligent energy management all come together to create an overall concept that represents a new landmark in the Efficient Dynamics development strategy. The BMW i8 blends the performance of a top-end sports car with fuel economy and emissions more familiar in a small city model. It is based, moreover, around a vehicle architecture that offers the perfect platform for thrillingly agile handling, thanks to an ultra-low centre of gravity and almost exactly 50 : 50 weight distribution.

The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a conventional domestic power socket, and sends its power to the front axle. This bespoke plug-in hybrid system, developed and produced by the BMW Group, enables a range in everyday driving of up to 35 kilometres (approx. 22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph) on electric power alone, coupled with a “glued-to-the-road” all-wheel driving experience headlined by powerful acceleration and a dynamically-biased distribution of power through enthusiastically taken corners. The more powerful of the two power sources drives the rear wheels and uses the electric boost from the hybrid system to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure while at the same time offering groundbreaking levels of efficiency. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 4.4 seconds, yet average fuel consumption – as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles – stands at 2.5 litres per 100 kilometres (113 mpg imp) from launch. CO2 emissions come in at 59 grams per kilometre.

For maximum driving pleasure and efficiency: BMW TwinPower Turbo engine and electric motor developed by the BMW Group. The plug-in hybrid drive system of the BMW i8, which comprises a BMW TwinPower Turbo engine combined with BMW eDrive technology, offers the best of both worlds: excellent potential for improved efficiency and exciting, sporty driving characteristics. The BMW Group has developed not only the internal combustion engine and electric motor in-house but also the power electronics and the battery. This ensures that all these components offer high product and quality standards, based on the outstanding capabilities of the BMW Group in the field of powertrain research and development.

The revolutionary character of the BMW i8 is emphasised by a further innovation: the use of an internal combustion engine which is making its debut in this model. The BMW i8 is the first BMW production model to be powered by a three-cylinder petrol engine. This highly turbocharged unit is equipped with latest-generation BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. It is exceptionally compact and develops maximum power of 170 kW/231 hp from its 1.5-litre displacement. The resulting specific output of 113 kW/154 hp per litre of displacement is on a par with high-performance sports car engines and is the highest of any engine produced by the BMW Group.

The car’s second power source is a hybrid synchronous electric motor specially developed and produced by the BMW Group for the BMW i8. The motor develops maximum power of 96 kW/131 hp and produces its maximum torque of around 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft) from standstill. Typically for an electric motor, responsive power is instantly available when starting and this continues into the higher load ranges. Credit for the linear power delivery, which extends right up to the high end of the rpm range, goes to a special motor design principle exclusive to BMW i. BMW eDrive technology refines and improves on the principle of the permanently excited synchronous motor with a special arrangement and dimensions for the torque-producing components. This results in a self-magnetising effect normally confined to reluctance motors. This additional excitation ensures that the electromechanical field generated when current is applied remains stable even at high rpm.

Customers also have the option of ordering the BMW i Wallbox Pro. Among the benefits provided by this second version of the charging point are additional convenience features. The BMW i Wallbox Pro has a 7.4-inch colour touchscreen which optimises management of the charging process. Among the information displayed on the TFT monitor are the battery charge level, the amount of energy fed into the battery so far and data on previous charge cycles. Information about charging times and energy consumption can be called up in lists sorted by user or vehicle. The available information can be transferred via an internet connection, for example for comparison or billing purposes. A BMW i Wallbox Pro which is accessible to several users can be protected from unauthorised use via PIN codes.

This version of the charging point has been specially designed for use with self-generated solar energy. To this end, BMW is working with SOLARWATT to give future owners of a BMW i vehicle access to innovative carports equipped with glass-glass modules for charging the battery – and supplying their home with solar power.