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Brand New BMW i8

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Mike Stevens | Jul 29, 2011

BMW has pulled back the sheets from its all-new i8 hybrid sports car concept. The i8 will make its world debut at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, alongside the decidely less mental i3 city car.

If you feel like you've seen the i8 before, you very nearly have. The i8's design and technology is based, very closely, on the the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept revealed back in 2009.

While the i3 is powered by an all-electric powertrain, the i8 is propelled by a plug-in hybrid arrangement that pairs a 164kW/300Nm turbocharged 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a 96kW/250Nm electric motor.

Between them, the two powerplants can drive the front wheels alone, the rear wheels alone, or both the front and rear for all-wheel-drive grip.

With a 50/50 weight distribution under its belt, the i8 is bound to handle like a sports car should. BMW promises appropriate acceleration too, with the 0-100km/h sprint coming undone in "under five seconds."

Being a hybrid, fuel consumption is the justification and the key decider for many. BMW says the i8, depending on driving mode, will achieve figures as low as 2.7 l/100km.

Suddenly, owning a sports car doesn't require much of a sacrifice in the conscience department. (But let's wait until we know what the pocket sacrifice will be first...)

bmw i3 i8 concepts 17

As with all plug-in hybrids, the i8's electric-alone driving range isn't exceptional, but at 35 kilometres, it's plenty for getting down to the shops or running errands.

The i8 has the right proportions for its sports car profile, measuring 4632mm long, just 1280mm tall and 1955mm wide, all on a 2800mm wheelbase. Weighing in at 1480kg, the i8 offers a primarily two-seater arrangement, with a '+2' rear seat setup.

The question now is: what will we see lining up between the i3 and the i8, and will we see even smaller coupe and convertible models in the i1 and i2 slots? Only time (and the rumour mill) will tell.

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