The heat is on in the market for green premium supercars. Showing the way as well as the secret to success in this all-new segment is Tesla’s Model S, around 10,000 examples of which were delivered in North America in the first half of 2013. But BMW would not let Tesla hog all the limelight as well as sales.
In fact, BMW AG will unveil the production version of its rechargeable i8 sports car at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2013. BMW, however, isn't worried on competing with Telsa, saying the i8 and the Model S target different buyers.
BMW's North American chief executive Ludwig Willisch described the i8 as “supercar of the future” as it features driving performance of an M3 while returning over 80 miles per gallon. Willisch remarked that compared with the Model S, the i8 is "a whole different animal” as it competes with different concepts." BMW will roll out the i8 supercar in Europe and the United States next year.
Pricing for the i8, which will be disclosed next month, is expected to be less than $150,000 in the US, according to Willisch. On the other hand, the Model S has starting price of EUR71,400 and around $70,000 in in Germany and the US, respectively.
BMW i8 uses electric power for the front wheels and a three-cylinder gasoline engine for the rear tires, while the Tesla Model S is powered only by electricity coming from a lithium-ion battery.
The i8’s hybrid system provides a combined 362 hp of output, allowing the car to accelerate from zero to 100kph in 4.5 seconds. According to BMW, the i8 returns an average of 94 miles per gallon (2.5 liters per 100km). Other premium carmakers like Porsche and Cadillac are also preparing their own plug-in offerings.
The way the body of the new BMW i8 has been designed is as pioneering as the concept of a hybrid plug-in sports car. Typical BMW qualities are present like the lightweight design, dynamics, and even efficiency.
All of which are made possible by the proportions, surface design, and the lines. In addition to being a new-generation sports car, the new i8 model can be recognized immediately as a i model. For many i models of the brand, a key feature is known as “black belt.” However, for this new 2+2 seater, it begins in the bonnet through a “V” shape and then stretches above the roof and all the way to the rear end.
On the rear apron, it is able to frame the center section. Going back to the front section, this black belt is able to frame not just the body-colored apron but the side panels as well. Within the rear end, this feature is overlapped by what are called as “floating” roof pillars, which then go all the way to the rear lights. The surfaces follow an interlocking structure and overlapping one.
This helps highlight the color theme of the new i8 and gives it that immediately recognizable look. By making use of a layering principle, the aerodynamic forms can now be wrapped under a style package that is truly progressive. Meanwhile the bold wheel arches are able to help emphasize this model’s wide track. Further, the compact construction allowed for the combustion engine and the electric motor to be differentiated.
It also gives the front section, and even the rear one, a low-slung design which highlights the stretched dynamic flanks. When it comes to the doors, they open forwards and then upwards, much like how wings work. Additionally, it gives the i8’s sports car design that added level of intrigue.