BMW unveils the i8 hybrid sports car at Frankfurt Auto Show

The sportscar hybrid has an all-carbon Life module passenger cell integrated with an aluminum Drive module.

On Sept. 10 at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW unveiled one of the most widely anticipated cars in its history – the BMW i8. On most levels, this plug-in hybrid 2+2 sports car is unlike any car ever introduced. It was also announced that the 2014 BMW i8 will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $135,700 plus destination and handling when it arrives in U.S. showrooms in spring of 2014. This is before any federal or state incentives for which the i8 may qualify.

The BMW i8 is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle from the BMW Group and world’s most forward-looking sports car; it is a revolutionary interpretation of BMW’s hallmark driving pleasure plus a groundbreaking model clearly defined in terms of sustainability. The  2+2-seater with LifeDrive architecture developed specifically for BMW i, the i8 has an aerodynamically groundbreaking body design and visionary interior design, which deliver an intense driving experience. Its Life module passenger cell is made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). A drive system technology, high-voltage battery, chassis, and crash and structural functions are integrated into the aluminum Drive module. With a curb weight of 3,285 lbs (1,490 kg), the car has a very low center of gravity (below 18 inches/460 millimeters) and well-balanced weight distribution.

The i8 is a plug-in hybrid system developed and produced by the BMW Group  and represents the latest development stage of Efficient Dynamics; it is also the debut for the three-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The lithium-ion high-voltage battery has liquid cooling and a usable capacity of 5 kWh.

A Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button allows the driver to choose from five driving modes; it has a range of up to 35 kilometers (22 miles) on electric power alone and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

The i8 features intelligent lightweight construction with elements including a CFRP passenger cell, doors with a CFRP-aluminum structure, an instrument panel with magnesium support, an aluminum chassis and a partition between the passenger compartment and boot made from thin glass; comprehensive safety concept and an ultra-torsionally stiff passenger cell.

More information is available at the BMW Group site.