2013 BMW i8: 0-62mph in 4.8s AND 62.6mpg Average Fuel Economy
If you’re into cars the i8 should look very familiar. It is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car. While the production version makes a few changes to the body and presumably the interior, the same lines are clearly there. You also may be wondering about its name. BMW i8. This car will come from the new sub-brand of BMW, BMW i. Cool, but what does BMW i mean? Luckily, their site has the answer:
At the heart of BMW i is a holistic approach to future mobility: Cutting edge materials, purpose-built vehicle architectures and next generation production technology deliver an unparalleled driving experience, with benchmark energy efficiency and sustainability. BMW i could not have achieved all this by sticking to conventional concepts – we were ready to go in completely new directions.
So, they make hybrid vehicles that attempt to achieve great efficiency without skimping on performance. BMW i was nice enough to include a video to go along with their brand and explain it with iconic images of amazing architecture, an eagle, and…dolphins.
Initially, BMW i will launch two vehicles, the i3 and the i8. The i8 is the sports car which is why I’m giving it all the attention. It’s just cool. The i3…less so. But for the sake of giving you an idea of the i3, here is a snap of it.
I know, not very aesthetically pleasing. The good news is the paint jobs on pre-production cars are designed to hide the curves (as you may know), so it could (hopefully) look a lot better when it becomes available.
Now, on to the i8.
Because it is still in the prototype phase, BMW i is tight-lipped about what exactly will power the new high performance hybrid. But, as the title of this posting says, we do know that is has an average fuel economy of 62.6 mpg and a 0-62mph time of 4.8s. It is a plug-in hybrid with likely some connection to the initial concept. The concept vehicle had a 1.5-liter diesel engine and two electric motors for a combined output of 328 horsepower and 535 lb-ft. That’s really not all that high by today’s standards for high performance vehicles, but thanks to Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics the i8 is light enough to make it work.
The i8 is also a 2+2 vehicle. Nevertheless, those who have been in the vehicle say the back seats become rather unrealistic if everyone wishes to be comfortable.
Don’t get to excited about the combination of performance and fuel economy just yet. I should tell you that BMW’s Sales and Marketing Director, Ian Robertson, said the i8 “will compete with Ferraris and high-end Porsches”. The price? He expects it will be around the $200,000 mark, putting it a little below the Mercedes SLS E-Cell.
Before knowing the price, I’d expected this car to compete pretty well against the $100,000 Fisker Karma. But now I find it is double the price. The Karma is nowhere near as quick as the i8, missing it’s 0-60 time by a whole second. That being said, the Karma can achieve an average fuel economy of 100mpg in its most eco-friendly mode. Until we get to see the production version of the i8 and learn all there is about it, it is difficult to compare the two definitively. Nevertheless, at first glance it would appear the i8 is overpriced.
The i8 will certainly find a market, I’m just not sure of the production volume BMW i was hoping for, or if it will be reached. There is no doubt that it is a radical design that looks very futuristic–some might say too futuristic. I think it manages to straddle the line pretty well between reality and sci-fi. The rear of the vehicle is the only questionable looking section of the vehicle that will take some time to grow on people (myself included). In the end, it is a cool ride that I would not complain about having in my garage (nor would you I imagine). It really is the best of both worlds. You get the great looking performance vehicle and the better-than-a-Prius gas mileage (I hate that I just used the Prius as a standard). I’ll leave you with a video showing the new i8 in motion.