Update - The gallery and press release section have been updated.
It is the first mid-engined hybrid sports car to launch in India.
More than a year after it was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo, BMW has finally launched the i8 Hybrid sports car today. It will be available in a single variant, priced at INR 2.29 crores (ex-showroom India).
First unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, the BMW i8 is the second product in the newly established "i" range, after the pure electric i3 hatchback, and is the first mid-engined BMW since the glorious days of the M1 supercar. Its design is based on BMW's Vision Efficient Dynamics concept and, by the looks of it, the designers have tried their best to stick to the concept's design for the i8.
Up front, the characteristic BMW kidney grilles are flanked by headlamps that feature LED lighting. The i8 is also one of the first cars in the world to introduce optional laser headlights, which further improves road illumination. The lower fascia stays true to the radical design of the concept, which is cleverly designed to not only look beautiful, but also channel air to cool critical components.
The i8 is the first BMW to ever feature dihedral doors, which further contributes to the unique appeal of the car. The contoured side skirts accentuated by blue elements (characteristic of the "i" range) also contribute to the car's aerodynamic focus.
The design starts to get interesting at the back, where the unique "floating" C-pillar and the U-shaped LED taillights are the main attractions. The sweeping roofline, which houses the LED turn indicators, is designed in such a way that it channels air through the U-shaped taillights, reducing unnecessary drag at high speeds. Like the i3, the rear features a black "framed" section that extends over the roof and converges into a V-shape on the bonnet.
BMW is proud of the i8's chassis construction, which they call it the "Life-Drive architecture". The passenger cell is made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) completely, which promises to be extremely lightweight and rigid. Thanks to the CFRP construction, the BMW i8 weighs 1485 kg (unladen), helping it secure good fuel efficiency and performance figures. Being a hybrid, the lithium-ion batteries powering the electric motors are placed underneath the CFRP cell for low center of gravity, ultimately improving cornering performance.
The BMW i8 is the first mid-engined hybrid car to launch in India. Since its main focus is fuel efficiency, the hybrid power train comprises of a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder petrol motor and an electric motor placed at the front and rear axles, respectively. The petrol engine produces 231 hp and 320 Nm of torque, which it transmits to the rear wheels via a 6-speed transmission, while the electric motor offers peak output of 131 hp and 250 Nm of torque supplied to the front axle, making it an AWD-capable car. The fuel efficiency is rated at 47.45 km/l.
To recharge its batteries, the car can either be plugged-in to an electric socket (which takes 2.5 hours to fully charge) or self-generate current using an electric generator placed close to the petrol engine. The hybrid power train can be tuned in three different modes: Comfort, ECO PRO, and Sport.
While the first two mainly focus on saving fuel wherever possible, the Sport mode unleashes the 362-hp hybrid powertrain, which helps the i8 sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, before hitting a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
Alternatively, if somebody prefers silent cruising, the i8 can do 35 km in pure electric mode, before the petrol engine kicks in automatically.
Without doubt, the BMW i8 is imported via the CBU route. For BMW India, the i8 will serve as an image-builder, giving people a glimpse of what BMW is capable of, in terms of styling and technology, and be sold in limited numbers.
BMW i8 India launch - Press Release
[Can't see the press release above? Head to Slideshare.]