Tuesday, 3 April 2012 3:27 PM
BMW is the latest badge to try and prove that going green doesn't have to mean slow or boring. As such, they have debuted the i8 Concept Spyder, the latest offering from i, their future mobility sub-brand, which has already launched the i3 Concept and the i8 Concept. It's a super-light two-seat open-top sports car with a plug-in hybrid powertrain - the aim is the performance of a sportscar with the efficiency of a city car.
They've mated an electric motor to a turbo-charged petrol engine and used lithium-ion battery technology. There's a decidedly un-Prius-like combined output of 354bhp, it jets up from 0-62mph in five seconds and it has a top speed of 155mph. It has the option of running in purely electric mode, it can be charged via a domestic power socket with a full charge taking less than two hours.
Like all good concept cars, the i8 Spyder has some funky features that we really hope make it into production - for instance, what's not to love about a car with upward-swivelling, windowless doors? There's also a pair of electric scooters stored on board under a transparent tailgate.
BMW has used what they like to call LifeDrive architecture on the i8 Spyder. They find efficient ways to put the car's modules together such as using carbon fibre-reinforced plastic and aluminium components. Basically, it all cancels out the weight gain added by the high-output hybrid powertrain. Keeping it aerodynamic, there's an energy tunnel joining the front and rear axles maintaining a low centre of gravity and the 50:50 weight distribution.
The seats are in naturally tanned orange, the instrument cluster is a pair of ellipses and there's an 8.8-inch central screen to tell you all sorts of stuff such as forthcoming traffic jams and the like. Add your smartphone to the mix and you can find where you parked the damn car, find nearby charging stations and allow batteries to be recharged at pre-planned times of day. Also, you can pre-warm the car before you get in on a cold day.
No news yet on a production date but there will be more to come from BMW's i department in 2013.
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