BMW i8 Spotted Testing in the Heat

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High-performance hybrid will combine nearly 400 horsepower with 80 mpg.

Audi has the R8, Mercedes-Benz has the SLS AMG, Porsche only recently started doing anything BUT sportscars, but BMW doesn't have a proper sportscar to top its lineup. That's about to change with the upcoming introduction i8, pictured here undergoing summer testing in southern Europe. What makes the i8 different from the R8 and SLS, however, is that it's a plug-in hybrid, with power more or less evenly distributed between the internal-combustion engine and the electirc motor.

A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine sends 223 horsepower to the rear wheels and an electric motor providesthe front wheels with 170 hp. Combined, the i8 will pack 393 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque to deliver the performance of an M3 with 80 mpg fuel economy. The i8 is projected to sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.0 seconds, reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph and travel at 20 mpg in pure electric mode.

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