At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW unveils the new i8, the i3, a fuel-efficient X5, and a yet funkier version of the new 4 Series Coupe.[Not a valid template]
The headline act, naturally, was this little minx, the BMW i8. We’ve already spotted the hybrid sportscar roaming through Dubai (twice), have spoken with BMW’s best and brightest concerning its innovative powertrain, and even taken the pre-production i8 for a drive. It should hardly come as a surprise then that the i8 is a major player in BMW’s long-term green strategy.
The 2+2 model plug-in hybrid – seen for the first time without its camouflage livery at the Frankfurt Motor Show – boasts a 228bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder unit that powers the front wheels, while an electric motor sends 129bhp to the front axle. Said electric unit enables an all-electric range of 35km and an electronic top speed of 120kph. Combined totals include a 357bhp power output, 0-100kph in 4.4 seconds, and a 250kph electronically limited top speed, putting the i8 impressively within reach of the V8 Audi R8 on pace alone.
That’s not all though. The new generation sportscar – the first all-electric BMW to make production – also boasts 50:50 weight distribution, a centre of gravity less than 460mm, and a passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Those of you with your chequebooks already quivering with fear can temporarily relax, since a list price has yet to be unveiled.
Further showcasing BMW’s fuel-efficient line-up is the new i3, the younger hatchback sister to the i8. Due for a European release this November, the i3 is powered by an electric unit and a lithium-ion battery pack that produces 168bhp and 184lb ft of torque. Top speed is 150kph, while 0-100kph takes just 7.2 seconds. Also of note are the i3’s impressive 1195kg kerb weight and its distinctive looks, the extended front bumper and suicide doors to name but a few. Not only are these a nod to the company’s future design language but further demonstrate BMW’s commitment to greener motoring: the carbon fibres for the passenger cell are manufactured using hydro power alone
To further rubberstamp the company’s green scheme, the Concept X5 eDrive – a hybrid version of BMW’s popular SUV – also made its debut inFrankfurt. The study comprises limited tweaks to the exterior, but replaces the X5’s top of the range V8 with a pulg-in hybrid system incorporating a twin turbocharged four-cylinder unit and a 95bhp electric motor. The eDrive will hit 120kph on electric power alone and deliver 3.8L/100km fuel efficiency.
Fortunately though the BMW stand at Frankfurt was not just about saving Mother Nature. As well as the new 4 Series Coupe (which crankandpiston took for spin on its international launch in Lisbon), BMW also debuted an M-Performance concept following on from the new M4’s appearance at Pebble Beach. Purely cosmetic, the 4 Series boasted a carbon fibre front splitter, tail lip rear spoiler, and BMW M colours as racing stripes, though details concerning power upgrades to the four and six-cylinder engine options have not been revealed.
Finally then the BMW i8 has arrived. What say you Audi and Mercedes?