2015 BMW I8 AUSTRALIA
If you were thinking of starting a new life with BMW’s powerhouse M6 Coupe... the German carmaker has now made the choice that little bit harder.
Today, the company’s local arm confirmed details for its enticing i8 plug-in hybrid, including an Australian starting price of $299,000.
That price is no surprise - although an opening point closer to $350,000 was rumoured - but it does see the i8 rubbing shoulders with the $292,145 M6 Coupe.
You’ll also find hot two-door options from Aston Martin, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Maserati in that bracket - although none are quite this advanced.
But while the majority of the i8’s price and segment rivals are motivated by muscled-up six-, eight- and 10-cylinder engines, BMW reckons it has their number with this new three-cylinder model.
That’s a turbocharged three-cylinder setup, of course, and - oh, yes, there’s also a powerful electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack on board.
The little petrol engine offers an already impressive 170kW and 320Nm of torque, but the electric motor’s extra oomph sees the i8 point a combined 266kW and 570Nm at the wheels - petrol to the rear and electric up front - through a six-speed auto.
Those are fairly pedestrian numbers in this modern era of high performance cars, and well short of the M6’s 412kW/680Nm - but a 0-100km/h time of 4.4 seconds makes it the big M car’s equal.
For the sake of comparison, another all-paw car that lists a time in that neighbourhood - specifically 4.3 seconds - is Porsche's PDK-equipped 911 Carerra 4S.
Top speed in the i8 is electronically limited to 250km/h.
BMW has also highlighted the petrol engine's place in the company's line-up: the turbo 1.5 three-cylinder engine's specific output of 113kW per litre of displacement is the highest of any BMW model.
And while the M6 lists already impressive fuel consumption figures - 9.9 l/100km on the combined cycle - BMW says the i8’s petrol-electric system will return an incredible 2.5 l/100km in regular driving.
Those figures are thanks not only to the i8’s hybrid technology, but also to its relatively light 1485kg kerb weight, achieved through the use of a carbon-fibre passenger cell and frame, along with a liberal application of aluminium and carbon fibre-reinforced plastics.
And as a plug-in hybrid, the i8 also boasts an all-electric driving range of 35 kilometres - growing to 55km in Eco-Pro mode - along with the ability to cruise at up to 120km/h on electric power alone.
With a full charge and a full fuel tank, BMW says the i8 will offer a driving range of around 500 kilometres in Comfort mode, growing by around 20 percent in Eco Pro mode.
Australian i8 Equipment List
In Australia, the BMW i8 will come standard with adaptive LED headlights - no word yet on the new laser set available in Europe - along with an 8.8 inch display with satellite navigation and an eleven-speak 360W harman/kardon audio pack, DAB+ digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
BMW’s i ConnectedDrive system will also be standard, featuring a built-in SIM card and online connectivity, Intelligent eCall and concierge services, BMW Apps, Remote Services and real-time traffic information.
In the cabin there’s leather trim throughout, matched with contrast stitching and ‘BMW i Blue’ highlights.
Three 20-inch wheel designs will be offered, wrapped in 215/45 and 245/40 R20 rubber at the front and rear respectively.
Owners will also have access to a special ‘360 Electric’ service that will allow them to rent other BMW models - at a reduced price - when planning trips that the i8 or its sibling the i3 might not be suited to.
Safety features include six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, Parking Assistant and the Driving Assistant system that includes camera-based aids for collision avoidance and pedestrian warning.
When the i8 goes on sale in March next year, there will be six BMW i dealers: BMW Melbourne in Southbank, Melbourne; BMW Sydney in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney; Brisbane BMW in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane; Auto Classic in Victoria Park, Perth; Adelaide BMW in Adelaide and Rolfe Classic BMW in Phillip, ACT.
Beyond the original sale point, service and repairs for the i8 will be available through an additional 11 BMW dealerships around the country - although those locations are still to be confirmed.
The BMW i8 will be available to order from March next year (although dealers may be taking orders before then), and the six established sales points will have demonstrator models available from December 2014.
BMW i8: Technical Details
- ICE: 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol turbo: 170kW/320Nm
- Electric motor: 96kW/250Nm
- Combined system output: 266kW/570Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto to rear wheels/two-speed transmission (electric drive: front wheels)
- Top speed: 250km/h
- Top speed (electric-only): 120km/h
- Acceleration: 0-100km/h: 4.4 seconds.
- Range (electric-only): 35 kilometres (extended by up to 20km in ECO-PRO and ECO-PRO+ modes)
- Maximum range (hybrid mode): 500km+
- Fuel consumption: 2.5 l/100km
- Emissions: 59g/km
- Weight: 1490kg
BMW i Wallbox
3.7kW at 16 amps
1 hour 45 mins
2 hours 30 mins