BMW Releases i8 Plug-in Hybrid Teaser Video

By · September 03, 2013

BMW teases the i8 plug-in hybrid with this video.

With a week to go before it officially unveils its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, yesterday BMW published an enigmatic 30-second teaser video of the i8 on its YouTube channel. As with most teaser videos, little info is given away.

Filmed on a dark set with mood lighting, the video’s sound track—a heart beat over deep synth pedal notes—captures a sense of excitement and passion, reinforcing BMW’s trademark “ The Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan. Meanwhile, a few close up shots of the i8, including ones of its headlights, taillights, mirror and scissor door mechanism—and some overall wide-angle low-light silhouette shots—leave the viewer wanting more.

BMW’s second mass-produced plug-in car is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the front wheels are powered by a 96-kilowatt electric motor through a two-stage automatic gearbox. Like other through-the-road hybrids, this enables the i8 to operate in all-electric, gasoline-only, or blended power modes.

In electric-only mode, the i8‘s top speed is limited to 75 mph and range is expected to be around 22 miles per charge. Operate it in a blended power mode with both gasoline and electric powertrains working in concert, and a total of 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet or torque will accelerate you from standstill to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. Top speed in this mode, where legal, is an electronically-limited 155 mph.

Like the i3, BMW’s mass-produced all-electric compact car due to enter production later this year, the i8’s cabin—called the “life module” by BMW—will be constructed of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Lighter and stronger than steel or aluminum, it gives the i8 a curb weight of less than 3,285 pounds, including battery pack. BMW said that it has employed other new weight saving techniques in the i8, including replacing conventional hardened glass with a chemically-hardened glass which is not only stronger than the Gorilla brand commonly found on consumer electronics devices, but much thinner and lighter.

The i8's price has yet to be released, but BMW hinted that the i8 will cost upwards of €100,000 in Europe when it goes on sale next year. Taking into account sales tax in Europe of around 17 percent, the i8 is likely to cost around $100,000 in the United States, making it slightly more expensive than the all-electric Tesla Model S P85 Sedan.

Then again, with seating for 2+2 instead of the Model S’s 5+2, the i8 isn’t likely to cross-shop against the Model S, appealing more to those who want a performance-oriented gasoline sports car (that can also drive in electric mode around town) than those who want to entirely ditch gasoline.

First unveiled as a concept car in 2009, the production-ready version of the i8 will be unveiled for the first time on September 10 at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

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