It has been three years since BMW announced its new i lineup, a range of so-called megacity vehicles beginning with the compact i3 city car and sleek i8 sports car.
BMW’s most important project in the history, the i series which includes BMW i3 concept and i8 powered by an all-electric drivetrain.The idea behind i is to take motoring to efficiencies not yet seen, using a combination of state-of-the-art carbon-fiber construction and zero-emission electric propulsion. And, as BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer promised back in 2010, i cars will have enough financial initiatives to make it possible for anyone.
The BMW i series, i3 and i8 spearhead BMW i’s entry point. The former is for city use with an all-electric driveline, the latter is a gas-electric hybrid — the performance car.
BMW i3 Driving Goes High-Tech
The clean sheet design takes two forms – the “life module” and the “drive module.” The life module – the i3’s passenger cell – uses carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to trim weight while maintaining the strength of steel. The boxy i3 tips the scale at just 2,700 pounds and earns the distinction of being the first regular-production car to pack a carbon fiber passenger cell.
Unladen weight 1,195/1,270 kg
Max. permissible weight 1,620 kg
Permitted axle load front/rear 750/910 kg
Top speed fully electric 150km/h
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 7.2 sec
Tyre dimensions front 155/70 R19
Tyre dimensions rear 155/70 R19
Wheel dimensions front 5Jx19
Wheel dimensions rear 5Jx19
4) Range and charge time
Electric range 190km
Capacity of lithium-ion battery 18.8kW/h
Charge time of high-voltage battery in h at 16 A (80%) 6-8 hour
BMW eDrive energy consumption in kWh/100 km 12.9
CO2 emissions 0 g/km
The BMW i3 is powered by a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the passenger compartment and a 170-horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque synchronous electric motor. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission, enabling the i3 to sprint from zero to 60 mph approximately seven seconds.The BMW i3 doesn’t have to be fully electric: An optional 650cc, 34-horsepower two-cylinder gasoline-burning range extender works like a generator to provide the battery with additional charge.Without the range extender, the i3 is essentially relegated to urban motoring thanks to its 80 to 100-mile range.
Drivers can select one of three drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO +, each of which tailor the car’s powertrain and air conditioning in order to preserve charge as needed.
The Technology and Driving Assist package bundles a wide array of electronic driving aids including the wide-screen Navigation Professional with a touch pad and real-time traffic information, Traffic Jam Assist, Deceleration Assistant, ACC Stop & Go, Forward Collision Warning and Pedestrian Protection with City Collision Mitigation.
The Parking Assist package adds a rear-view camera, Park Assistant and Front Auto Park Distance Control.
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All BMW i3’s of trim level come standard with front and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, brake assist, a brake drying function and traction control.
BMW i8 21st Century Supercar
The BMW i8 will headline the i-car lineup when it goes on sale in 2014. Conceived as an alternative to today’s sports cars, the sleek new coupe aims to provide the best of all worlds: a Porsche 911’s straight-line performance.The i8’s interior is pure sports car. You sit low with your legs well out in front. The seats are lightly padded. The deep but low dashboard is prominent. The instrument binnacle has graphics that change depending on the driving mode, going from a calm blue in eco-pro and comfort to a racier orange hue in sport mode. Mesmerizing.
Unladen weight 1,490 kg
Max. permissible weight 1,855 kg
Permitted axle load front/rear 895/995 kg
Top speed 250 km/h
Acceleration from 0–60 km/h
on purely electric power 4.5 sec
Tyre dimensions front (standard equipment) 195/50 R20 93W XL
Tyre dimensions rear (standard equipment) 215/45 R20 95W XL
Wheel dimensions front (standard equipment) 7Jx20 H2 IS36
Wheel dimensions rear (standard equipment) 7,5Jx20 H2 IS40
4) Range and charge time
Electric range 35km
Gross capacity of lithium-ion battery 7.1 kW/h
Charging time of high-voltage battery
at 16 A (Wallbox) 2 hour
CO2 emissions 59 g/km
Consumption combined in l/100 km 2.5
System output 266 kW/362 hp
Electric motor: Max. torque 250 Nm
Internal combustion engine: Cylinders/valves 3/4
Internal combustion engine: Capacity 1500 ccm
Internal combustion engine: Compression ratio : 1
The plug-in hybrid will reportedly weigh in at 3,197 lbs with a 2+2 seating configuration and pop-up door design. Powering the BMW i8 will be a 170-hp electric motor driving the front wheels, while a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder powers the rear wheels with 223-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Despite earlier rumors that a non-hybrid, M-variant of the i8 would be in production, ideas of a V8- or V10-powered i8 has been tossed out the window. That’s no real surprise as BMW really wishes to push the future of its technology with their i-model lineup. The new i8 can be front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive thanks to a clever black box. Fully charged, the BMW i8 can cover 20 miles in full-electric mode. 0-62 mph is in a mere 4.9 seconds when all 393-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque is in effect. The i8 will feature a four-speed transmission and in the European driving cycle it’s reporting 104.2-mpg.