Four years after the first concept was revealed, the production-spec BMW i8 is finally here.
It's been four years since BMW revealed its first i8 concept, the Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics. Since that time we've seen another concept along with a Spyder version come and go and a nearly endless amount of spy shots. But it's finally here, the production-spec BMW i8. Debuting today at Frankfurt, the i8's specs are already well-known to many: a 1.5-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine pumping out 231 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.
This power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, but the front wheels receive their power from an electric motor that produces an additional 131 hp and 184 lb-ft. Power is distributed through its two-speed automatic gearbox. Altogether, the i8 has 362 hp and 320 lb-ft, which allows it to sprint from 0-62 mph in only 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. It can also hit 75 mph in pure electric mode. Considering this performance, the i8 returns an estimated 94 mpg and can travel up to 22 miles on battery power alone. In hybrid mode, BMW claims a 310 mile range.
BMW also claims the i8's charging time is wicked fast: a full charge from a 110-volt outlet will happen in less than four hours, and a BMW Charging Station will do the same job in 1.5 hours. But the i8 is still a high-performance car, and it comes with BMW's typical driving characteristics such as different driving modes: Sport, Eco Pro and Comfort. With its carbon-fiber body shell that sits on a welded aluminum chassis, the i8 represents all of BMW's latest technologies – both eco-friendly and high-performance, all wrapped into one pretty package. And something like this doesn't come cheap, of course. US pricing will start at $135,925 (only the 760Li costs more) and sales will begin next spring.