The BMW i8 is now available to pre-order and test drive in Australia through a network of six BMW i dealership specialists. The i8 lands here as the German manufacturer’s first ever plug-in hybrid sports car, offering performance numbers that don’t usually coincide with such frugality.
Under the skin a 170kW/320Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder TwinPower turbo petrol engine powers the rear wheels, with a 96kW/250Nm BMW eDrive electric motor used to drive the front. The all-wheel drive powertrain allows the i8 to scoot from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds with a limited top speed of 250km/h.
Lightweight materials used during the construction process means the i8’s weight has been kept to a minimum, tipping the scales at just 1485kg. Passengers enter the sports car via scissor-wing doors that open forwards and upwards, revealing a two-plus-two layout.
To match the driver’s mood there are five driving modes on offer; Comfort, Eco, Eco Pro, and Sports. Each mode utilises the petrol and electric engines in different ways to deliver the appropriate performance. Fuel consumption is rated at 2.1L/100km for combined driving, making it one of the most efficient performance cars ever made.
Buyers can expect the i8 to recharge in one hour and 45 minutes via BMW’s i Wallbox Pure accessory, or two hours and 30 minutes through a regular 240-volt power socket. The two lithium batteries, when fully charged, allow the BMW to travel up to 37kms using only electricity.
The i8’s cabin continues the car’s futuristic theme, featuring a design language that is unique from other BMW models. BMW offers customers the choice of three interior design schemes and four exterior colours. Buyers can also select from three different sets of 20-inch wheels to further customise the look of their sports hybrid.
Standard technology includes a head-up display, surround view cameras, ’emergency call’ in the event of an accident, instant weather updates and entertainment thanks to a built-in SIM card, an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite navigation that can determine the most-efficient route, and BMW’s renowned iDrive connected to a 8.8-inch colour screen.
BMW Group Australia general manager of sales and marketing, Tom Noble said,
“Put simply, the all new BMW i8 offers the very best of both worlds. Its stunning styling, premium features, high performance and driving pleasure maintain the BMW tradition while the innovative plug-in hybrid powertrain and advanced lightweight materials and construction processes provide sustainable solutions for 21st century motoring.”
The i8 joins the BMW i3, set to go on sale here in Australia in November, as BMW’s second addition to its i brand vehicles. More models are expected to go on sale in the future. Priced from $299,000, the i8 is set for customer deliveries in February 2015.