The future of BMW has arrived in the form of 2 eco cars, the BMW i3 and BMW i8, as you can see from the first official pictures these eco Friendly vehicles certainly look like they are from the future. The BMW i3 will be a family sized all electric hatch while the i8 will be a hybrid supercar.
Both models will use aluminium for the drive section which houses the battery, suspension and makes up the crash structure while the rest of the car will be made from CFRP (Carbon fibre reinforced plastic) which is as strong as steel but 50% lighter. BMW say they have solved the weight issue that is associated with using heavy battery packs by using CFRP to help balance the weight and early evidence suggests they're right. BMW say the i3 will be taller, wider and around 30cm shorter than a Volkswagen Golf but it weighs 50kgs less than a Golf which comes in at 1250kgs.
The new ‘i cars will feature subtle BMW styling updates which will mark them out as eco-specials. The Famous BMW badge will feature a blue ring around the outside of the logo and the grille also gets a matching blue background. The usual circle headlights found on BMWs are replaced by LEDs and both models take on more of a rounded style design compared to the current models. The i3 will be rear wheel drive with power coming from a 168bhp electric motor which accelerates the i3 to 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds with a limited top speed of 93mph. Power is drawn from lithium-ion batteries which have a range of 140 miles, but a full recharge takes six hours and quick charge point will fill the battery to 80% in just 1 hour. Even though BMW claim the i3 can manage 140 miles this acutely translates to only a 100 miles if you take into account everyday driving conditions. For those customers who need to travel that little bit further you can purchase as an option a range extending engine called the Rex.
The BMW i8 hybrid supercar has a 1.5 litre turbocharged engine that produces 217bhp, this sits alongside the same electric motor from the BMW i3 that produces just 128bhp, both drive units produce a total of 345bhp which goes directly to the rear wheels. The BMW i8 can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155mph. Figures show that the BMW i8 could achieve 104mpg while only producing 66g/km CO2 emissions but BMW say that an everyday figure of around 50mpg is more likely though. The BMW i8 can also run on electric power alone for up to 20 miles
Although BMW still refer to both new vehicles as concepts, we dont expect major changes to the BMW i cars when they arrive in 2013. But expect a price tag of around £31,000, while the BMW i8 hybrid supercar will carry a price tag of around £150,000.
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