BMW ends laser headlights war with Audi as it delivers the first i8 plug-in hybrid sports cars

Article by Christian A., on June 10, 2014

You may already know about the so-called ‘laser headlights war’ between Audi and BMW, which started between the two manufacturers when Audi launched the Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept at the 2014 CES.

For those who don’t know, when Audi launched its concept BMW said on its Instagram account that if they wanted to show a concept car with laser headlights they had to bring their Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept presented back in 2011.

Everything seemed to end when Audi unveiled the R8 LMX as the world’s first production car equipped with laser high beams. Although BMW announced that it will offer laser headlights on the i8 this Autumn, the Bavarian carmaker delivered the first eight i8 cars to their customers, each using the laser-powered headlights.

This means that BMW became the first carmaker in the world to launch a production car fitted with laser-powered headlights. So, the ‘laser headlights war’ ended with BMW taking a remarkable victory.

Besides the new laser headlights, each BMW i8 is powered by a 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo three-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 231 hp (170 kW) and a maximum torque of 320 Nm. In addition, there is an electric motor that generates 131 hp (96 kW) and 250 Nm of torque.

While the petrol engine delivers the power to the rear wheels, the electric motor sends the hp to the front wheels. With a total output of 362 hp (266 kW) and 570 Nm of torque, the hybrid system pushes the BMW i8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h or 155 mph. Meanwhile, fuel consumption is less than 2.5 liters/100 km or over 113 mpg.

The design of the body of the new BMW i8 is just as groundbreaking as the vehicle’s concept in entirety. Its proportions, lines and surfaces all convey its lightweight design and efficiency as well as its signature BMW dynamics. Just by a glimpse, it is easy to tell that the new i8 is both a BMW i model and a next generation sports car.

Furthermore, the distinctive look of the new BMW i8 is partly made possible by the structure of overlapping and interlocking surfaces, as highlighted by its color scheme. Thanks to this layering principle, the new BMW was able to give the new i8 several progressive styling and aerodynamic forms.

The compact construction of the new BMW i8 clearly sets apart the electric motor and combustion engine, thereby enabling the car’s front and rear sections to feature a low-slung design. In turn, this design helps highlight the i8’s dynamically stretched flanks. The sporty design of the new BMW i8 is further accentuated by doors that open forwards and upwards like wings.

Since the new i8 is a BMW i car, it also features the so-called black belt. This black belt on the BMW i8 appears in a "V" shape from the hood and then flows over the roof to the rear section. Here the black belt borders the center section of the rear apron.

On the front, the black belt is bordered by the body-colored apron and side panels, while on the rear, this signature feature is overlapped by the "floating" roof pillars extending over the tail lamps. In addition, the new BMW i8 features a "stream flow" contour of its side window styling. This stream flow helps establish the route taken by the air between the falling roofline and the character line.

Press Release

First global deliveries of the BMW i8. BMW laser light debuts for the first time in a customer vehicle

Munich. The world’s first BMW i8s (fuel consumption combined: 2.1–0.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 49–0 g/km) were handed over to customers today at BMW Welt in Munich: The first eight customers from Germany received their BMW i8s as part of an official ceremony in which Roland Krüger, Head of Sales and Marketing Germany for the BMW Group, and Dr. Helmut Schramm, Head of Production Electric Vehicles at Plant Leipzig, presented them with the keys to their new cars.
The first BMW i8 cars also feature the ground-breaking BMW laser light.
An exclusive evening reception to mark the BMW i8 market launch, with celebrity guests, such as TV presenter Thomas Gottschalk and actor Thomas Kretschmann, rounded off the official vehicle presentation.

BMW Laser Light in series production
With its BMW i8, BMW is the first manufacturer worldwide to offer totally new laser-powered headlights in a production vehicle. The BMW i8 will make automotive history with its laser lights, as the first series-produced vehicle to feature this completely new lighting technology.

While high-intensity, energy-efficient full LED headlights are standard in the BMW i8, the optional laser-boost feature extends its high-beam range to up to 600 metres, doubling the already impressive illumination range of the latest LED high-beam headlights.
The new technology uses 30 per cent less energy than ultra-power-saving LED lights, takes up less installation space inside the headlight and weighs less.

The outstanding range of BMW laser headlights offers even greater illumination and visibility for driving in the dark, ensuring a more relaxed and comfortable driving experience with enhanced road safety. Dazzling of oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead is reliably eliminated in conjunction with the camera-aided digital high-beam assistant.

BMW i in Germany
“In November of last year, we welcomed the first BMW i3 customers here at BMW Welt. Today, we are continuing the BMW i success story with the first eight BMW i8 customers worldwide. As ‘the first of a new era’, the BMW i8 combines the sustainable design of a carbon-fibre body with a powerful plug-in hybrid,” stated Roland Krüger. “This success would not be possible without our retail partners. We are delighted that our BMW i agents are accompanying us on the road to the future of mobility.”

The BMW i8 is the BMW Group’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle. It combines the driving performance of a high-performance sports car with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car. BMW i8 deliveries will begin in all main international BMW Group markets in June.

Presentation with familiar faces
Following the vehicle handover, the new BMW i8 was presented to a select audience in a special multimedia show, featuring actor Thomas Kretschmann. “The car looks fantastic. It’s a technical revolution. I’m really looking forward to working with BMW,” said Kretschmann.

Roland Krüger was joined by Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, BMW i8 Project Manager; Benoit Jacob, Head of Design BMW i; and Dr. Helmut Schramm, Head of Production for BMW i vehicles at Plant Leipzig to answer questions in a BMW i8 roundtable chaired by Thomas Gottschalk. “I just experienced driving the BMW i8 for myself: It’s a lot of fun. I would never have thought pure electric driving could be so sporty,” remarked Gottschalk.

Later, guests celebrated the market launch of the BMW i8 with renowned Austrian DJ and producer Parov Stelar.

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