With details of the BMW i3 already out in the world, now is as good a time as any to release the sportier BMW i8 specs. With a claimed 95 mpg, 0 to 60 mph acceleration of just 4.5 seconds, and a top speed of 184 mph, it has been well worth the four-year wait.
The BMW i8 was first revealed to the world in 2009 as the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept. Since then BMW has added and dropped plans for a V8 or V10 version, trotted out a sexy i8 roadster concept, and even like Tom Cruise take a concept for a drive in Mission Impossible 4. The BMW i8 will finally make its full, uncamouflaged debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month.
So let’s talk specs, shall we? The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid with powered by a 1.5 liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine powering the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission to the tune of 228 horsepower. A 129 horsepower electric motor powers both front wheels, and the two systems can work in tandem or independently. Combined output is a healthy 357 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque.
Using various weight-lightening efforts, including a carbon fiber main structure and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP), BMW managed to keep the curb weight of the BMW i8 under 3,300 pounds. That is just a few pounds more than the Porsche 911 4S Carrera, the i8’s primary target, and engineers managed to achieve a near-perfect 50:50 axle weight distribution. The light weight allows for a 0 to 60 mph acceleration of just 4.5 seconds, with an estimated top speed of 184 mph. Not bad for a three-banger.
The lithium-ion battery pack provides enough power for up to 22 miles/35 kilometers of pure-electric driving, and fuel consumption on the European testing cycle is estimated at 94 mpg. While that number is sure to change on the American testing cycle, the BMW i8 appears to perfectly blend fuel efficiency with performance.
So you can have your cake, and eat it too, so long as you’re ready to shell out $120,000 or so, the estimated starting price of this fuel-efficient sports car.