August 14 2013

BMW i8 Reviewed

RMA Track Days talks about the new BMW i8

What is it?

According to BMW, the i8 is ‘a real-world performance car’, with the ability to run 22 miles on electric power, crack 0-62mph in 4.5secs and top out at a limited 155mph.

BMW is yet to announce official figures, but the g/km CO2 rating is expected to fall below 59g/CO2, with a combined fuel consumption rating of 113mpg. Being a plug-in hybrid, the UK government will give you a £5000 subsidy towards buying one. Even so, expect to pay £95,000 for the privilege when this classy BMW arrives in showrooms in April or May 2014.

Technical Highlights?

The i8 is so stuffed of technology, it’s hard to know where to start. Power comes from three different sources: There’s a 130bhp electric motor up front, powering the front wheels via a 2-speed gearbox, then there’s a transverse 3-cylinder, 1499cc turbocharged engine sitting mid-ship – kicking out 230bhp and 236lb ft of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The petrol engine is then also assisted by a 10KW electric motor-come-generator (connected to the engine via a belt) tasked with starting the engine, generating electricity or produce a quick burst of torque whenever the turbo is spooling up to eliminate turbo-lag.

Added together, this gives a total of 360bhp and 420lb ft of torque available to the driver, offering decent performance. Kerb weight is less than 1490kg thanks to the i8’s carbon fibre construction, and extensive use of aluminium for the front and rear sub-frames. Also helping to keep weight to a minimum is the lithium-ion battery, which only has a capacity of approximately 7kwh (and positioned down the spine of the car). This is around a third of the size of BMW’s i3 battery.

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