BMW brought their gorgeous i3 and i8 concept cars to show off their new EV platform. The i8 is exactly what I’d expect from a company known for making gorgeous muscle cars. It appears designer Richard Kim (above) was inspired quite literally by muscles. The way the air scoops undulate out of the front panels to direct air toward the back mimic the way muscles wrap around each other.
I spoke briefly with Richard Kim, designer of the i8 concept car, and he told me they used both virtual and actual wind tunnel testing to maximize aerodynamic performance at all stages of the design process. He explained they didn’t want an unsightly spoiler looking like an “add-on” to the rear fender, so they integrated the spoiler into the rear. Clearly, they succeeded in this.
The i8 delivers 349hp, 220hp of which is from the twin turbo motor at the rear, the rest from the 96kW eDrive system mounted over the front axle. Average fuel consumption is claimed to be 87mpg and electric range approximately 20 miles. That’s plenty to get to work in LA crawling through traffic looking much cooler than anyone else on the road. It’s also quite roomy for a high performance car, with 5.3 cubic feet of luggage space and comfortably seating 4 adults. I love the gull-wing doors, not just for the novelty, but also because it makes it easier to get in. This is a gorgeous car and I was actually surprised to find out it’s a fully functional concept, because it looks so unreal. I just hope that when it’s launched in late 2013/2014 it will still be a car Mr. Kim can be proud of. This is the challenge for designers, often their most creative visions simply aren’t what people want to own, sadly.