Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BMW i8 2013 price and release date revealed

The new BMW i8 is expected to go on sale in late 2013, with a price tag of around £100,000
UPDATE: We drove a prototype version of the BMW i8 at the Miramas test track facility in France. In our i8 review, we found it stunning to drive - not just in the world of green cars but up against any supercar. And has dramatic looks to match. It should also prove practical every day, with a 300-mile-plus range.
The steering is light and artificial, yet is pin-sharp and remains consistent in its responses. The electric motor provides maximum torque from zero revs, while the charismatic petrol engine pushes from the back, making the i8 extremely fast – we easily hit 110mph on a short straight at Miramas.
Charging infrastructure is not so key to the i8’s success as it is to the i3’s, as the battery can be revived within three hours using a standard wall socket.
In fact, the price is the only issue at the moment. a senior BMW figure admitted the i8 will cost in excess of 100,000 Euros (about £86,000). However, we think it could turn out to be one of the most dynamically capable BMWs ever, and a truly alternative 21st century sports car.
• BMW i8 prototype review
Set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and hit UK roads by the end of 2013, the BMW i8 is a serious sports car with a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.
It uses a mid-mounted 220bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, which delivers 300Nm of torque to the rear axle. This engine is built at BMW's Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham. Powering the front wheels is a 129bhp electric motor, which should deliver 250Nm of torque to the front axle.
This means it should complete 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds - that's exactly the same time as a dual-clutch-equipped BMW M3. But, like the M3, the top speed will be limited to 155mph.
Even more impressive, the BMW i8 claims an average 104.6mpg. This is thanks to its lightweight construction - it uses an aluminium space frame chassis and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to minimise the impact of the lithium ion batteries and keep weight down. Overall, the i8 weights 1,480kg which is 195kg less than an M3.
The i8's doors swing up in a similar fashion to a Lamborghini, while the interior is expected to feature a 2+2 seating arrangement. Front passengers get full-sized seats, whereas the rear will only really be big enough for small children due to the low roofline. At the rear, the bold spoiler - as seen on the concept car - is still present, with air vents along the back windscreen.
In 2014, a convertible i8 Spyder will also be offered.
The BMW i8 will accelerate with impressive force, but we're yet to hear what kind of noise the new powertrain will make.
Thanks to stability control, 50:50 weight distribution, and an equal flow of power reaching each axle, handling will feel extremely agile. That said, from early prototype drives of the car, with the traction control switched-off completely, the i8 feels more like a rear-drive car.
BMW's i brand looks like it may pave the way for the future of electric cars, and the Global head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, is confident of this: "I think we can be a game changer."
There's also a possibility that BMW will take what they've learnt from the i8 to help shape other cars. Ian Robertson confirms this: "I'm sure some of the technology from the i8 will wash back into our other cars," - hinting that we may expect to see plug-in hybrid versions of already existing models, such as the 5 Series and the X5.
BMW has also created a network of dealers that will supply and support the sub-brand, i. When the i8 launches, there will be around 46 sales agents across the UK with specialist technical capabilities that will allow them to carry out repairs to the high voltage batteries.