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Performance and fuel economy from new BMW i8 Concept Spyder hybrid

by Adrian Bishop 03 Apr 2012
Performance and fuel economy from new BMW i8 Concept Spyder hybrid

Rear of i8 Concept Spyder hybrid; Credit: BMW

Car maker BMW has just unveiled a dynamic sports car with a difference - it's also an eco-friendly hybrid car. The high-performance i8 Concept Spyder features an e-Drive plug-in electric motor and petrol engine for high performance and fuel economy.

The lithium-ion battery that powers the motor can be completely recharged from an ordinary power socket in less than two hours. From each full battery charge, the i8 Concept Spyder can travel 30 kilometres (19 miles) just on battery power.

With the open-top two-seater, owners get the performance of a sports car with frugal petrol consumption. It can accelerate from 0-100kmh (62mph) in just five second and has a maximum speed of 250kmh (155mph). In the European test cycle it used 3litres of petrol to travel 100km, which equals an impressive 78.4miles per gallon.

The lightweight i8 Concept Spyder is dynamic and responsive, thanks to its low centre of balance, 50/50 weight distribution and maximum output of 260kW.

The front and rear axles are linked by an "energy tunnel" that contains the battery pack and helps create its low centre of gravity.

Side view of i8 Concept Spyder doors

i8 Concept Spyder doors; Credit: BMW

Windowless doors that swivel upwards and electric kickboards that are hidden under the translucent glass panel tailgate enhance the i8's looks. Its interior consists of a stylish mix of leather, carbon and plastic and its powerful U-shaped headlights feature pioneering laser technology.

The car features carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic construction elements combined with aluminium components in the chassis, powertrain and safety structure.

As you would expect, it features the latest technology, including camera-controlled Collision Warning system, Traffic Jam Assistant and Parking Assistant.

Owners can find their vehicle via CarFinder by using their mobile phone. They can also find charging stations, charge the battery at set times and optimise the battery and interior temperature before departure. The car even synchronises the driver's smartphone to list appointments.

Another helpful feature is Last Mile Navigation, which uses a smartphone to map out the route to their appointment after parking and Intermodal Route Planner, which offers details about parking and public transport.

Most of the car's functions are controlled and shown on the 22.4 cm (8.8-inch) central display unit, which features menu navigation and route information.

Interior of BMW i8 Concept Spyder with eDrive

Interior of BMW i8 Concept Spyder with eDrive; Credit: BMW

The i8 Concept Spyder includes intelligent navigation features that maintain the efficiency and energy management of the hybrid drives. Drivers can also power the front wheels, rear wheels, or all four wheels at the same time and the car's clever electronics ensure maximum energy is recuperated while braking or coasting.

When the driver is in energy-saving ECO PRO mode, the display turns blue and in SPORT mode it changes to orange.

The sporty design is created by using large body panels, layers and aerodynamic surfaces, short front and rear overhangs, aeroflaps, AirCurtains and spoiler lips. When bad weather hits, the i8 is ready with its folding roof.

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder follows on from the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept Coupe, which were previously unveiled.

BMW has also takes sustainability seriously in the manufacturing process. Its production plant in Leipzig, Germany, is set to cut water use by 70% and halve energy consumption per vehicle in the coming years. In addition, the energy will be come from renewable sources.

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