Jan
07

2017 BMW i8 hybrid coupe

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By Ken Chester, Jr., —  Motor News Media

Introduced to the world in 2014, the BMW i8 coupe was the first plug-in hybrid vehicle from the German automaker; a revolutionary interpretation of BMW’s hallmark driving pleasure combined with a groundbreaking premium character that is clearly defined in terms of sustainability. The coupe is configured as a 2+2-seater with LifeDrive architecture developed specifically for BMW i, boasting aerodynamically groundbreaking body design and visionary interior design and delivering an intense driving experience.

The emotion-led visual impression is based around established BMW i design language, with classical sports car proportions and a fresh interpretation of BMW design features. The doors open upwards like wings with a surface design (external and internal) that is based on the layering principle.

As to be expected from the German automaker, the Life module passenger cell is made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The drive system technology, high-voltage battery, chassis, and crash and structural functions are integrated into an aluminum Drive module with a Cd of 0.26 and a very low center of gravity and a well-balanced weight distribution.

Offered in Base, Giga, and Tera World trim levels, power for the BMW i8 is generated by a plug-in hybrid system developed and produced by the BMW Group representing the latest development stage of Efficient Dynamics. The system consists of a 1.5L TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine and a model-specific hybrid synchronous electric motor. A lithium-ion high-voltage battery with liquid cooling delivers a usable capacity of 5 kWh. Torque is channeled through all four wheels via a two-stage six-speed automatic transmission.

The Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button allow driver to choose from five driving modes; a range of up to 22 miles on electric power alone with a top speed of 75 mph; a COMFORT mode that offers optimum balance between dynamics and efficiency with a combined range of over 310 miles; and a SPORT mode with an ultra-intense boost function provided by the electric motor. ECO PRO mode can be used in both all-electric mode and hybrid mode.

Intelligent lightweight construction with elements include a ultra-torsionally stiff 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 passenger cell.

Sophisticated chassis technology features a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle. Electric Power Steering and Dynamic Damper Control are standard as well as 20-inch light-alloy wheels.

Future-focused design also dominates the interior of the BMW i8. The driver orientation typical of BMW cockpit design is complemented by progressive elements which highlight the sports car’s dynamic flair and light weight. The driver, front passenger and rear passengers sit low down – in traditional sports car style – in lightweight seats. The standard leather trim extends beyond the seat surfaces to parts of the center console, instrument panel and interior door panels.

The instrument panel of the BMW i8, with its horizontal lines emphasizing the width of the interior and a structure determined by the “layering” principle, creates a light yet powerful impression. The arrangement of the overlapping, three-dimensional segments is complemented by a contrast-rich color scheme. The layering approach also finds its way, through dynamically curving lines, into the design of the center console, which is home to the gearshift lever, the Controller for the iDrive operating system, the start/stop button, the eDrive button and the Driving Experience Control switch. The iDrive system’s Control Display comes in a freestanding 8.8-inch format. A bespoke sports steering wheel with multifunction buttons and the Navigation system are standard in the BMW i8. Also standard is the multifunction instrument display, whose content and presentation formats take their cue from the driving mode selected.

Services specifically developed for BMW i as part of the 360° ELECTRIC program include: BMWi Charging Station for convenient battery charging at home, ChargeNow card giving customers a cash-free payment option at public charging stations as well as innovative mobility services such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse; this flexible sales concept enables made-to-measure mobility solutions.

Dimensions & specifications
Wheelbase: 110.2; overall length: 184.6; width: 76.5; height: 51.0
All vehicles measurements in inches.

Engine: 1.5L TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder gasoline engine, synchronous electric motor with power electronics, and lithium-ion battery – 357 hp and 420 lbs-ft of torque.
Transmission: two-stage six-speed automatic.
Fuel Economy: 76 MPGe.

Safety features
Dual front airbags, front seat mounted side-impact airbags, dual front seat knee airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, dynamic brake control, cornering brake control, brake fade compensation, start-off assistant, brake drying, brake stand-by, dynamic traction control, dynamic stability control, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, navigation system professional, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, BMW TeleService, full-color heads-up display, engine start/stop button, automatic headlamp control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, dynamic cruise control with braking function, universal garage door opener, park distance control, advance vehicle and key memory, anti-theft alarm system, active driving assistant with surround view (includes speed limit info, frontal collision warning, pedestrian protection and city collision mitigation), and tire pressure monitoring system.

Warranty
Basic: 4-year/50,000 mile
High-Voltage Battery: 8-year/100,000 mile
Corrosion: 12-year/unlimited
Roadside Assistance: 4-year/unlimited

Pricing
The base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 BMW i8 coupe starts from $143,400. Destination charges add $995.

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