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BMW i8: Hybrid sports car for SA

2014-07-18 14:36

HYBRID SPORTS CAR FOR SA: The BMW i8, set to arrive in South Africa later in 2014, is the automaker's first plug-in hybrid vehicle. Image: BMW

LONDON, England - The BMW i8, shown at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, makes it European debut in July 2014. South Africa can expect the hybrid sports car to arrive later in 2014.

Ahead of the local launch, we bring you details of BMW’s stunning hybrid which along with the i3 forms part of the automaker’s ‘i sub-brand.

The i8 seats four and measures 4.6m long, 1.9m wide and 1.2m tall with a wheelbase of 2.8m. It weighs 1490kg and is ground clearance is 117mm, making it lower than any other current BMW.


It’s powered by a 170kW/320Nm rear-mounted 1.5-litre three-cylinder TwinPower petrol, sending power to the rear wheels through a six-speed auto. A 96kW/250Nm electric drive system sends power to the front wheels via a two-stage auto.

BMW's powertrain control system ensures that both power sources are coordinated while providing all-wheel drive when required.

GALLERY: 2014 BMW i8

Total output is 266kW/570Nm enough to rocket it from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds on to a  top speed of 250km/h (electronically limited). BMW claims a fuel consumption figure of 2.5-litres/100km with emissions of 49g/km. It can travel 35km solely on battery power.

It offers a choice of several driving modes such as Comfort, Eco Pro, Sport and eDrive (electric drive in combination with Comfort or Eco Pro mode).

Its dynamic stability control (DSC) system includes anti-lock braking, cornering brake control, dynamic brake control, brake assist, brake standby, hill-start assistant, fading compensation and the brake drying function.

The dynamic traction control system raises the DSC thresholds, allowing some controlled wheel slippage for easier start-off on snow or loose ground, or for dynamic cornering.


The digital instrument display fitted in the i8 shows the vehicle speed and driving status information in a format and colour selected depending on driving mode. Sport mode shows traditional circular instruments for speed and rpm readouts while in Comfort, a “powermetre” display replaces the rev counter to show the battery usage.

Eco Pro adds an efficiency display to encourages drivers to maximise fuel efficiency.

The standard satnav is linked to a proactive drivetrain management system specifically developed for the BMW i8. When route guidance is activated, the drivetrain management is configured to ensure the electric motor is employed as extensively as possible.

The system analyses the route selected and configures the drivetrain to run on purely electric power on low-speed sections.

The i8 is equipped with cruise control (with braking function), front and rear park distance control and a Head-up display.


The i8 offers a new approach to personal mobility courtesy of the new BMW’s 360° Electric portfolio. According to BMW. "Within this portfolio, BMW 'i' brings together a wide range of innovative products and services that make electric car ownership an easy, offering services including home charging and access to a expanding network of public charging points."

Other benefits include networked navigation, including dynamic range mapping, efficient ECO routing, and access to a range of Electric Packages helping to provide flexible mobility

A SIM card, fitted as standard in the i8, is the key that unlocks the BMW ConnectedDrive services which offers navigation services developed to enhance electric mobility, as well as the more familiar features of the automaker's system .

The i8 will be sold in the UK on July 19 and as a guide retails for the equivalent of R1.7-million.
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