BMW sees the United States as the largest sales market for its new BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, the car's product manager, Hendrik Wenders, told Automobilwoche. Wenders also sees the United Kingdom, Germany and France as the largest sales markets for the car in Europe. BMW i8’s product manager says the car is targeted towards men who are at least 35 years old and are high-earning and technology-savvy.
BMW i8 prototype has been showcased at a test facility in Miramas, France. Development engineers expect the plug-in hybrid supercar to be launched in around nine months with a simultaneous rollout at dealerships worldwide. Wenders said BMW i will sell the i8 in around 50 countries around the world, with an online sales option.
Interested buyers could acquire the BMW i8 online just like the i3 electric car, through a call center or via salespeople who will pay a visit to a customer's home to complete the purchase.
According to Wenders, BMW is still determining whether to offer i8 customers with their choice of another BMW model if they are onto a long journey. i3 owners can borrow a 5 series for the long journeys on weekend as part of BMW's 360 Degree Electric service program.
The production version of the BMW i8 is set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in August 2013, two after the concept was presented at the show in 2011. The production i8 will have dimensions of nearly 4700mm in length, in 1940mm width and around 1300mm in height.
Its wheelbase measures 2800mm. The BMW i8 will be powered by an electric motor that delivers 131hp to the front axle and a new 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine that provides up to 231hp to the rear wheels. Combined, the Bmw i8 boasts of 362 hp in output, which is enough to allow it to accelerate from zero to 100kph in less than 4.5 seconds and achieve an electronically limited top speed of 250kph.
The concept of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car is truly groundbreaking, and so is the design of its body. The proportions, lines and surfaces of the new i8 all convey its dynamics, lightweight design and efficiency. Overall, the design of the new BMW i8 doesn’t just advertise it as part of the BMW i family but also as a next generation sports car.
The distinctive looks of the new BMW i8 is helped by the structure of its overlapping and interlocking surfaces, as highlighted by its color scheme. By employing this layering principle, BMW was able to combine aerodynamic forms with progressively styling, with its wide track emphasized by its dynamically formed wheel arches.
As designed, the new BMW i8 boasts of a compact construction that allows onlookers to distinguish both the electric motor and internal combustion engine. This construction also lent the i8 with a low-slung design on both the front and rear, thereby helping accentuate its flanks. There is also the i8’s uniquely designed doors that open forwards and upwards like wings.
As part of the BMW i family, the new i8 comes with a signature feature called the "black belt." This feature appears in a "V" shape starting from the hood, and then flows through the roof into the rear end. Here, the black belt frames the center section of the rear apron.