Signaling that the official debut of the radical BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car is only a month away, BMW has released several new photographs of the upcoming plug-in hybrid in action as well as detailed technical data which provides a compelling glimpse into the inner workings of this unique vehicle and showcases its technical innovations before its official debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. First previewed as a concept car at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the production version of the i8 will have an overall length of only 184 inches, a width of 76 inches, and have a height of only 50 inches. All three figures are very consistent with other cars in its segment and should allow the i8 to be a viable contender in its own right. While much of the i8’s styling is still hiding under BMW’s trademark blue swirled camouflage, look for the production version to share many of its styling cues with the fore-mentioned i8 concept, especially its trademark scissor doors as well as much of its rear styling.
Performance for the i8 will come from a specially designed hybrid powertrain which consists of a 231 horsepower 1.5 liter three cylinder engine located behind the rear seats and a front axle-mounted 131 horsepower electric motor. When paired together, this potent combo generates 362 horsepower and a healthy 420 lb-ft of torque which allow the i8 to make the sprint from 0 to 62 mph in a brisk 4.5 seconds before reaching a final top speed of 155 mph. All of this eco-friendly muscle is channeled through two separate transmissions, with the main gas powered engine featuring a six speed automatic gearbox while the front axle mounted electric motor boasts a two-stage automatic transmission.
As a bonus, the i8 can operate in pure electric mode for up to 22 miles at up to 75 mph, which should allow the i8 to take considerably fewer trips to the pump versus many of its rivals that don’t have the same green technology. This is enhanced further by its 113 mpg rating when measured according to the European cycle, though expect that figure to vary somewhat when the i8 is measured against the U.S. EPA testing regime.
Look for more details regarding the BMW i8 to be officially unveiled closer to the car’s official debut at Frankfurt with the first units possibly arriving in dealer lots here in the U.S sometime in 2014.