liter 3-cylinder hybrid
approx 94 mpg
under 5 seconds
mph (electronically limited)
(from BMW Press
Release) BMW i8 Concept – emotional, dynamic and efficient.
The BMW i8 Concept and
the fascinating approach that underpins it embody the vision of a
sustainable contemporary sports car brought to life. Its innovative
plug-in hybrid concept combines the modified electric drive system
from the BMW i3 Concept – fitted over its front axle – with a
high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164
kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. Working in tandem,
they allow the two drive systems to display their respective talents
to the full, delivering the performance of a sports car but the fuel
consumption of a small car.
Acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under five seconds
combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three
litres per 100 kilometres (approx. 94 mpg imp) are figures currently
beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine
of comparable performance. Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery,
which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8
Concept can travel up to 35 kilometres (approx. 20 miles) on
electric power alone. Added to which, the 2+2-seater offers enough
space for four people, giving it a high level of everyday
The LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept has been carefully
adapted to enhance the vehicle’s sports car character, and therefore
to deliver unbeatable performance and excellent driving dynamics.
The motor in the front axle module and combustion engine at the rear
are connected by an “energy tunnel”, which houses the high-voltage
battery. This gives the car a low centre of gravity – and the
dynamic benefits that come with it. The positioning of the electric
motor and engine over their respective axles and the space-saving
and well-balanced packaging of all components result in an optimum
50/50 weight distribution.
The emotional design of
the BMW i8 Concept ensures its qualities are clear for all to see.
Its dynamic proportions give the BMW i8 Concept the appearance of
surging forward before it even turns a wheel and lend visual form to
its extraordinary performance.
The sporting character
continues into the interior. Boasting a driver-focused environment
unmatched by any BMW Group vehicle before it, the BMW i8 Concept
immerses the driver fully in the unique driving experience. The BMW
i8 Concept is the sports car for a new generation – pure, emotional
The LifeDrive architecture of the
BMW i8 Concept.
The BMW i8 Concept sees
the LifeDrive architecture concept adapted to suit the vehicle’s
sports car character – i.e. primed to deliver leading performance
and sharp dynamics. In a departure from the purely horizontal
configuration favoured for the BMW i3 Concept, the LifeDrive
architecture of its BMW i8 Concept sibling also features vertical
layering. The drive systems powering the BMW i8 Concept are
integrated into the front and rear axle modules, with the CFRP Life
module providing the bridge between the two.
As a plug-in hybrid, the BMW i8 Concept is not designed purely for
all-electric propulsion, and therefore carries fewer battery cells
than the BMW i3 Concept. These are stored in the Life module inside
the energy tunnel, a structure similar to a central transmission
The front and rear axle
modules therefore combine with the passenger cell and battery to
form a functional unit, which adopts not only load-bearing
responsibilities but also extensive crash functions. The location of
the high-voltage battery in the energy tunnel gives the vehicle a
low centre of gravity, and this enhances its dynamics. Together with
the positioning of the motor and engine over the axles, the result
is optimum 50/50 weight distribution. Intelligent lightweight design
and the innovative use of materials produce extremely low unsprung
and rotating masses, which is good news for the car’s driving
dynamics, acceleration, range and fuel economy. All in all, the BMW
i8 Concept offers the ideal environment in which to experience the
special drive concept and distinctive sports car character of the
BMW i8 Concept on the road.
The axles are also
designed to deliver optimum handling properties, in keeping with the
car’s sporting profile. Thus the multi-link front axle makes for an
extremely flat and aerodynamically efficient silhouette while also
eliminating any drive forces which may otherwise affect the
steering, ensuring optimum handling in every situation.
Best of both worlds – the BMW i8
The i8 Concept combines
the advantages of two different drive systems. As a plug-in hybrid
it reaps the benefits of an electric motor and an internal
combustion engine for maximum efficiency with maximum dynamics. At
the front axle is the electric motor adopted from the BMW i3 Concept
and modified for use in the BMW i8 Concept’s hybrid power train,
while a 164 kW/220 hp turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine
developing up to 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) of torque drives the rear axle.
Together, the two drive units take the vehicle to a governed top
speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Like the electric motor, the 1.5-litre
three-cylinder petrol engine was developed entirely in-house by the
BMW Group and represents the latest state of the art in conventional
engine design. Acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under five
seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of
under three litres per 100 kilometres (approx. 94 mpg imp) are
figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a
combustion engine of comparable performance. Depending on charging
habits and the nature of the route, it is even possible to improve
on these figures.
The hybrid concept means
that the BMW i8 Concept can also run purely on electric power. The
energy supplied by the application-designed battery system installed
between the front and rear axle modules to the electric motor at the
front axle gives the BMW i8 Concept an all-electric driving range of
approximately 35 kilometres (20 miles). The battery can be fully
recharged in two hours at a standard power socket.
Thanks to the two drive
systems, all four wheels of the BMW i8 Concept can be driven at the
same time, similarly to an all-wheel-drive vehicle. This solution
combines the advantages of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and
all-wheel drive to ensure the optimal dynamic drive configuration as
required. Depending on traction conditions and driving situation,
intelligent dynamic driving systems ensure maximum energy
recuperation without compromising dynamics and stability. This
allows very high levels of energy recuperation even in the wet or in
Efficient and dynamic – the BMW i8
The design of the BMW i8
Concept is as special as the car’s overall concept, embodying the
perfect synthesis of technology and aesthetic allure. Its sweeping
lines and flat silhouette lend the vehicle a strikingly dynamic
appearance even when standing still. A large, transparent greenhouse
lends the exterior an extraordinary feeling of lightness and
highlights the exceptional efficiency of this vehicle concept. Short
front and rear overhangs round off the sporting overall impression.
Despite its dynamic appearance, the 2+2-seater can accommodate four
people, giving it a high degree of everyday practicality.
As with the BMW i3
Concept, layering again serves as the central design element of the
interior and exterior. The individual vehicle components are also
clearly visible from the outside, the black and transparent Life
module clearly setting itself apart from the silver-coloured body
components around it. This layering approach lends the BMW i8
Concept an extremely technical and cutting-edge appeal.
Dynamic side view.
Taut surfaces and
precise edges form an extremely sculptural and organic surface
structure. The precise lines along its flanks and hallmark BMW i
“stream flow” also give the BMW i8 Concept a strong sense of
powering forward even when it is standing still. The BMW i8
Concept’s doors swing upwards like wings to provide an undeniably
emotional and sporting allure. Below the doors, the silver-coloured
layer moulds the car’s flanks into a powerful wedge shape, opening
out from the door sills towards the rear. A blue flourish
accentuates the dynamic presence of the sills. Together, the bonnet
and door sill sculpting emphasise the BMW i8 Concept’s
forward-surging stance, and their smooth lines imbue the car with a
touch of lightness.
Striking front end.
The BMW i8 Concept also
displays its dynamic sports car persona when viewed from the front.
A number of different levels interact with one another in the design
of the front end, while the expressive surface treatment exudes
dynamic verve and advertises the car’s sporting potential. The
full-LED headlights of the BMW i8 Concept are designed as two
A black, semi-transparent “V” rises out of the bonnet just behind
the kidney grille, opening out towards the windscreen and guiding
the eye to the electric motor below. The “V” also offers the first
glimpse of the CFRP module and extends back towards the rear like a
black band to provide a visual connection between the different
sections of the car.
Sporty rear end.
Similarly to the front
end, the rear of the car is also very low, horizontal and sculptural
in design. The silver-coloured side sections form a striking
vertical frame around the rear of the car, with a precise line
extending out to the sides enjoying particular prominence. In its
centre the silver-coloured and blue-framed rear diffuser is a wider
and lower interpretation of the version on the BMW i3 Concept,
adding a distinct sporting flavour to its relationship with its
At the rear, the car’s
exceptional sporting credentials are also expressed in
width-accentuating lines, three-dimensional air outlets and
“floating” tail lights with air through-flow. The tail lights, which
also have a distinct horizontal design, are integrated into the
upper layer of the rear and share the signature U-shape of the BMW i
The transparent surfaces
in the doors and roof give the exterior and interior design of the
BMW i8 Concept the appearance of merging into one another. The
colour concept and underlying structure of the BMW i8 Concept
interior closely mimic those of the BMW i3 Concept. Here again, the
Porcelain White support structure, black technical level and comfort
section with Mocha Brown leather are split into three different
layers. The arrangement of the air vents, control panels and
displays also betrays the car’s family ties to its BMW i3 Concept
Overall, however, these
features have a more sporting character and are geared much more
clearly towards the driver. Indeed, a level of driver focus beyond
that of any BMW Group vehicle before it allows the BMW i8 Concept to
immerse the driver fully in the unique experience behind the wheel.
Driver-relevant functions such as the gearshift lever, start-stop
button and parking brake are arranged around the driver on the
centre console and are graphically strongly geared towards the
driving seat as well. The three-dimensional displays are extremely
clear and flash up the relevant information for the driving
situation at hand. At the same time, occupants in the BMW i8 Concept
sit in a highly integrated position low down in the car and are
separated by the battery running lengthways through the interior.
This longitudinal bisection of the cabin underlines the sporting and
forward-looking character of the BMW i8 Concept interior.
The 8.8-inch (22.4 cm)
freestanding information display in the dash is joined by an equally
large display taking the role of the instrument cluster. Indeed, its
high-quality presentation in the binnacle makes it look far larger.
Designing the central instruments in this way enables
driver-relevant information to be conveyed in a three-dimensional
and high-resolution format. In keeping with BMW i style, the
displays are premium, modern and purist. Depending on the driving
mode, the two drive systems are depicted by a pair of ellipses,
which supply information on their operation at any given time. Other
information – such as the available range and fuel level – can be
found here, too.