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Published on May 7th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro

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BMW i8 Drops Plans For V8 Or V10 Version

bmw-i8-2A car that has seemingly be in development forever, the BMW i8 will eventually come to market as a plug-in hybrid with a hint of performance. But there were also rumors that the i8 could also get a gas-only drivetrain for serious horsepower enthusiasts. Those plans have been canned, and the BMW i8 will remain a clean performance car…for now.

Plans were long rumored to be in the works for a V8 or V10 gas-powered M variant of the BMW i8. It first burst on the scene in 2009 as the Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept, and it initially debuted as a diesel-powered hybrid supercar. There was still some skepticism that a hybrid supercar could work in today’s market, so the idea of a V8 or V10 version probably soothed some worries.

But those dreams of a V8 or V10 BMW i8 are now gone. Now the BMW i8 has a gas-powered turbocharged three-cylinder working in conjunction with a 129 horsepower electric motor that  power the front wheels in all-electric mode for up to 22 miles, or 35 kilometers. The 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine will put around 220 horsepower and 220 ft-lbs of torque  to the rear wheels, allowing the i8 to also operate in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive modes. Combined output is a very respectable 349 horsepower. Not as much as a BMW V10 might deliver, but that isn’t the point right now.

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There are a few ways to take this news. On one hand, maybe BMW executives think the market for yet another gas-powered supercar is just too saturated for the BMW i8 to make a mark. If you’re a well-heeled car enthusiast, there are literally hundreds of options for cars that cost $100,000 or more, most of them powered by high-dollar gas engine. Keeping the i8 as a plug-in hybrid certainly sets it apart from the other V8 and V10 supercars.

The other way to look at this is that BMW is fully committing to the i sub-brand as its own version of the Toyota Prius. What I mean is that rather than dilute the yet-to-launch i8 with a gas-only drivetrain, BMW is keeping with its original mission to deliver a sexy-looking, low-emissions sports car. With a 0-60 mph time of under 5 seconds and a 160 mph top speed, the BMW i8 is still faster than 95% of the cars on the road. With the i8 operating as the flagship of the new green BMW brand, perhaps BMW is hoping the cultivate an image as a green car leader along with the new i3 city car, which will come in pure electric and plug-in hybrid flavors.

Of course, there is always the notion that new emissions laws will make developing and selling a new V8 or V10 supercar impractical or too costly. Definitely a possibility as well.

With a price tag estimated to be in the $120,000 range, the BMW i8 is still a car that only the wealthiest 1% can even think about owning. What sets it apart from other supercars will be its unique plug-in hybrid drivetrain. But will BMW eventually cave to pressure and deliver a V8 or V10 drivetrain? Maserati is reportedly considering a new turbodiesel V8, and other automakers are looking into fuel-saving technologies that will allow bigger engines to survive harsher emissions laws.

What is your take on this news? Is BMW committing to the i-brand, is the supercar market over-saturated  or is Bimmer just trying to build a car that meets new emissions laws?

 Source: CAR Magazine


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About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



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