Bmw i8 Concept: details, photos and specs

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 29, 2011

After we saw the Bmw i3 Concept it’s time to take a look at the all-new i8 Concept. Bmw say that the new car is powered by a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine capable to deliver 164 kW (220 hp)/300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. Moreover, the Bmw I8 Concept has also an electric motor capable to power the car on its own.

The I8 Concept is capable to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under five seconds combined. The combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three litres per 100 kilometres (approx. 94 mpg imp) and average customer fuel consumption of between five and seven litres per 100 kilometres (40.4 – 56.5 mpg imp).

Using only the electric motor, the Bmw i8 Concept can travel up to 35 kilometres (approx. 20 miles), which means that a large proportion of short everyday journeys can therefore be completed with zero emissions. The electric motor is found on the front axle and is capable to recoup maximum energy every time the driver brakes, while a high-voltage alternator hooked up to the combustion engine charges the battery.

Regarding the design, the i8 Concept features upward- swivelling doors fixed to the A-pillars and a series of air inlets allow the air to flow through and around the vehicle. Moreover, the electric motor found on the front axle and the combustion engine at the rear are connected by an “energy tunnel”, which houses the high-voltage battery. This means that the car has a low centre of gravity and that it is more stable at higher speeds.

Finally, there’s a car that understands dynamics more than anything. The BMW i8 concept vehicle’s interior and exterior give off an impression of dynamic style and functionality.

For those in the know, the i8 and the i3 used the very same concept in layering and colour scheme. The i8 concept employed the Porcelain White for the structure, the Black for the technical components and of course the Stream Blue for the centre console and accessories panel while the Mocha Brown was used for the leather interior.

Basically, the earth tone, which makes up the majority of the interior, gives the BMW i8 Concept a very warm ambience. It just blends perfectly with the lighting and the rest of the layer of colours to add another dimension of style.

However, the i8 Concept’s display and control panels and even the air vents are undeniably more charming when sitting next to its sibling. Judging from the strategically placed accessories, the i8 model obviously offers a more “driver-centric” appeal. For one thing, the 3D display is clearer and delivers up-to-the-minute information to the person behind the wheel.

The layering of interiors also serves more convenience to the driver. The new concept design ensures all the driving functions are within an arm’s reach. Evidently, the parking brakes, start-stop button as well as the lever for the gearshift are already placed at the centre console.

Meanwhile, the Audio system, Climate Control Unit and iDrive controller in LED touchscreen are positioned at the centre to give equal access to the driver and the front passenger. In every sense, the extremely low placement of passenger seats along with the longitudinal structure visible on the clear roof makes the BMW i8 look highly futuristic.

Press Release

Efficient and dynamic – the BMW i8 Concept

The design of the BMW i8 Concept is as special as the car’s overall concept, embodying the perfect synthesis of technology and aesthetic allure. Its sweeping lines and flat silhouette lend the vehicle a strikingly dynamic appearance even when standing still. Taut surfaces and precise edges combine to form an extremely sculptural and organic surface structure. The BMW i8 Concept appears to have been cut from a single mould, with the front end, flanks, rear end and roof flowing smoothly into one another. Dynamic surfaces and forms generate attractive light and shadow effects, which add emotional emphasis to the car’s light and sporty character. A large, transparent greenhouse lends the exterior an extraordinary feeling of lightness and highlights the exceptional efficiency of this vehicle concept. Short front and rear overhangs round off the sporting overall impression. Despite its dynamic appearance, the 2+2-seater can accommodate four people, giving it a high degree of everyday practicality.

As with the BMW i3 Concept, layering again serves as the central design element of the interior and exterior. The individual vehicle components are also clearly visible from the outside, the black and transparent Life module clearly setting itself apart from the silver-coloured body components around it. The overlapping surfaces and carefully positioned joints enable a reduction in the number of parts required and therefore also a drop in the car’s weight. Indeed, the airflow-optimising surface structure can meet aerodynamic requirements without the addition of extra body elements. This layering approach lends the BMW i8 Concept an extremely technical and cutting-edge appeal.

Dynamic side view.

The precise lines along its flanks and hallmark BMW i “stream flow” give the BMW i8 Concept a strong sense of powering forward even when it is standing still. Plus, the compact packaging of the electric motor over the front axle has allowed the designers to give the car an extremely low and aerodynamically efficient front end. The BMW i8 Concept’s doors swing upwards like wings to provide an undeniably emotional and sporting allure. The high-strength carbon passenger cell allows large door openings which give access to the front and rear seats at the same time. Like the rest of the exterior, the construction of the doors is shaped by the overlapping of several layers of material. Below the doors, the silver-coloured layer moulds the car’s flanks into a powerful wedge shape, opening out from the door sills towards the rear. A blue flourish accentuates the dynamic presence of the sills. Together, the bonnet and door sill sculpting emphasise the BMW i8 Concept’s forward-surging stance, and their smooth lines imbue the car with an extra lightness.
Striking front end.

The BMW i8 Concept also displays its dynamic sports car persona when viewed from the front. A number of different levels interact with one another in the design of the front end, while sculptural air intakes and channelling ducts evoke a feeling of depth. The expressive surface treatment exudes dynamic verve and advertises the car’s sporting potential. The broad kidney grille and flat headlights emphasise the car’s low-slung and dynamically wide-set stance. The full-LED headlights of the BMW i8 Concept also adopt the signature BMW i U-shape with two adjacent arches. Set back slightly into the body and framed by a U-shaped surround, the headlights give the car a sporty and urbane appeal.

A black, semi-transparent “V” rises out of the bonnet just behind the kidney grille, opening out towards the windscreen and guiding the eye to the electric motor below. The “V” also offers the first glimpse of the CFRP module and extends back towards the rear like a black band to provide a visual connection between the different sections of the car.

Sporty rear end.

Similarly to the front end, the rear of the car is also very low, horizontal and sculptural in design. The silver-coloured side sections form a striking vertical frame around the rear of the car, with a precise line extending out to the sides enjoying particular prominence. This line also serves as a spoiler lip and emphasises the aerodynamic efficacy of the rear end. In its centre the silver- coloured and blue-framed rear diffuser is a wider and lower interpretation of the version on the BMW i3 Concept, adding a distinct sporting flavour to its relationship with its stablemate.

In this area of the car the exceptional sporting credentials of the BMW i8 Concept are expressed in width-accentuating lines, three-dimensional air outlets and “floating” tail lights with air through-flow. The tail lights, which also have a distinct horizontal design, are integrated into the upper layer of the rear and share the signature U-shape of the BMW i light concept.

BMW i8 Concept: putting the dynamic into aerodynamics.

The efficient aerodynamics of the BMW i8 Concept can be seen in a host of different details. Numerous parts of the car’s body serve as air guidance elements. Narrow openings around the front apron guide the inflowing air into two AirCurtains. These enclosed ducts channel the air along the inside of the front apron to the wheel arches, where it is expelled at high speed through an extremely narrow outlet, brushing past the tyre sidewalls as it goes. The out- rushing jet of air hangs like a curtain over the sides of the front wheels and minimises turbulence in this area. Added to which, the car’s underbody is totally enclosed and has a smooth surface to counteract the under-car turbulence that would otherwise push up fuel consumption. Meanwhile, the hallmark “stream flow” on the sides of the car highlights its optimised air flow and air channelling capability. Moving further back, the structures above the tail lights and the large air outlets underline the reduction in drag achieved over the vehicle as a whole

Purpose-built interior.

The transparent surfaces in the doors and roof give the exterior and interior design of the BMW i8 Concept the appearance of merging into one another. The clear forms of the interior provide an attractive contrast to the dynamically flowing exterior and lend the cabin a special lightness and dynamic flair. The colour concept and underlying structure of the BMW i8 Concept interior closely mimic those of the BMW i3 Concept. Here again, the Porcelain White support structure, black technical level and comfort section with Mocha Brown leather are split into three different layers. Stream Blue touches on the centre console, instrument panel and seats lend stylistic expression to the efficiency and sustainable character of BMW i in the interior. Naturally tanned leather and warm colours underline the light, high-quality and sustainability-focused ambience inside the BMW i8 Concept. A light felt with three-dimensional meshing provides the floor covering and emphasises the dynamic flavour of the interior as a whole.
The arrangement of the air vents, control panels and displays also betrays the car’s family ties to its BMW i3 Concept sibling. Overall, however, these features have a more sporting character and are geared much more clearly towards the driver. Indeed, a level of driver focus beyond that of any BMW Group vehicle before it allows the BMW i8 Concept to immerse the driver fully in the unique experience behind the wheel. The purpose-built driver’s position puts the driver squarely at the centre of the action and gives him easy access to all information

and controls. The three-dimensional displays are extremely clear and flash up the relevant information for the driving situation at hand. At the same time, occupants in the BMW i8 Concept sit in a highly integrated position low down in the car and are separated by the battery running lengthways through the interior. This longitudinal bisection of the cabin underlines the sporting and forward- looking character of the BMW i8 Concept interior. Like a road map above the passengers’ heads, the organic, longitudinal structure of the transparent roof reflects the inspiration for the car and its key focus on delivering a dynamic driving experience.

Layering in the interior.

The driver-focused design can also be seen prominently in the distinctive layering of the interior. Surfaces, levels and joins form functional areas and mark them out from one another. For example, the interplay of various levels gives the driver’s area a very three-dimensional design and clearly sets it apart from the front passenger area. In a clear gesture towards the person behind the wheel, the lines around the driver all converge into the binnacle to form an extremely focused driver’s position. Driving functions such as the gearshift lever, start/stop button and parking brake are arranged around the driver on the centre console and are also extremely driver-oriented graphically.

The driver’s position also dominates a second level within easy reach of both driver and front passenger. This is where they will find the iDrive Controller with touch-control surface and the climate control unit. The central information display, meanwhile, is positioned above the instrument panel. The freestanding design of the unit gives it a particularly intricate and high-quality feel. The instrument panel integrates the controls for the audio and climate control system almost seamlessly into the surrounding surface. They are illuminated with LEDs, giving them a very pure touch-control look. However, their button-based design allows them to provide feedback through the fingertips, accentuating the sporting character of the BMW i8 Concept.

Here again, the layering concept fuses functionality and stylishly minimalist design to innovative effect. Elements such as the central air vents not only have the task of enhancing comfort, they also form part of the cockpit architecture. At the same time, the use of layering also gives visual form to the principle of lightweight design in the interior and, together with the generous amount of

exposed carbon in the Life module, emphasises the car’s low weight. The rear seats are fixed solidly to the floor, but at first glance they appear to be floating, giving this area of the car a light and contemporary feel.

Optimum information.

Two large displays give the driver access to the relevant information for the driving situation at hand and help him to operate connectivity-related applications. The 8.8-inch (22.4 cm) central information display is joined by an equally large display taking the role of the instrument cluster. Indeed, its high- quality presentation in the binnacle makes it look far larger. In normal driving mode the two drive systems are depicted by a pair of ellipses, which supply information on their operation at any given time. Other information – such as the available range and fuel level – can be found here, too, and the driver can also call up three-dimensional navigation instructions in addition to the other readouts. The displays in this area share the high-quality, modern and pure design which has been established as a hallmark of BMW i. In ECO PRO mode the displays turn blue in colour, confirming the change in functional emphasis, while an efficiency display tells the driver how much further the car can travel before recharging or refuelling, and shows the optimum accelerator position to maximise efficiency. If the driver switches to Sport mode, the colour of the display information changes to orange and the ellipses rotate and point in the direction of travel. A large readout of the car’s speed is displayed digitally between the ellipses. This extremely dynamic display concept brings the emotional driving experience to the screens and, with its uncomplicated approach to showing information, helps sharpen the driver’s focus on the primary task at hand. In every driving mode, this display concept ensures the driver is shown the information he requires at that moment in time to do the best possible job of piloting the car.

Topics: bmw, bmw i8, concept

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