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BMW i8 launched in India, priced at Rs 2.29 Crore

  • Feb 18, 2015
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2015 BMW i8

BMW India has launched it's flagship plug-in electric hybrid supercar, the i8 here. Priced at Rs. 2.29 Crore ex-showroom, the i8 highlights the brands' advanced technological achievements and its commitment to become a manufacturer of more environmentally-friendly cars. The i8 supercar along with the i3 city car, which may not make its way to India, are part of BMW's 'i' electric-hybrid car range internationally. The car was first launched in Germany in June 2014 and will be available in limited numbers to prospective Indian clients beginning today. Highlights of the car include a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds, claimed mileage of 47.45 km/l with an electric range of 35 km.

The BMW i8 began life as the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept which was unveiled during the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Most of what was showcased by the concept has been carried over to the production version that we see today. Things like the highly aerodynamic body and the extensive use of lightweight materials like aluminium and polycarbonate glass along with majority of the interior design elements have made it to the final production model. The 2011 i8 Concept, 2012 i8 Concept Spyder and 2013 i8 coupe prototype progressively brought us closer to the final production i8 coupe version.



2015 BMW i8

The BMW i8 features very unique styling elements on the outside, though the low and wide sporty silhouette of a sportscar is evident. Overlapping design surfaces which are highlighted thanks to the contrast paint schemes attract your eyes towards them, it may look fussy when looked at from far but they reveal fascinating details of the car and are essential towards making the i8 aerodynamically advanced. One of the few design elements that tell you that this is a BMW car are the trade-mark BMW kidney grille and the smattering of BMW badges around and inside the car.

At the front the i8 gets full-LED headlights and do not get the signature dual-barrel headlamp design of standard BMW models, instead it features LED DRLs which run along the side and bottom edges of the cluster along with a projector lamp and high beam LED unit. BMW will also offer its laser headlights as an option to customers. The BMW kidney grille is re-imagined for the i8, fully closed and more premium looking. The V-shaped part on the hood is where the 'black-belt' design element of the i8 starts from, this extends around the front windshield and continues onto the rear where it ends at the boot-lid spoiler.

2015 BMW i8 Right Profile Dynamic

Move to the side and you notice why aerodynamics has influenced the design of the car. The side design is dominated by swoops and cuts, which are highlighted by contrasting paint. The doors open upwards, and add to the coolness factor. The left-side front fender is where you connect the cable to charge the on-board batteries, while the right-side rear fender houses the fuel-filler. The floating roof at the rear and the very noticeable tunnel between the rear fender and the roof add to the intriguing design of the i8.

2015 BMW i8 Rear Right Quarter

At the rear, it does get very fussy. The roof becomes an extended spoiler, there is a prominent air-tunnel which begins just after the side quarter-panel and exit just over the tail-lamps. The brake-lamps mimic the front DRLs, the indicators are placed on the lower part of the floating roof and the reverse lamps are placed separately lower down in the rear panel. The exhaust pipe is placed discreetly on the right side.



2015 BMW i8 Interior Front Cabin

The interior design mimics the futuristic styling seen outside the car, but there are familiar BMW styling bits around the car. The 'layering' design theme is seen on the dashboard, the lower centre console and the door-sills. Soon after you open the butterfly doors, you notice the partly exposed Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic passenger cell, which along with many other lightweight parts on the car are essential in making the i8 an efficient, environment-friendly and sporty car. The three-spoke steering features controls for the multimedia-system and cruise control, and looks rather conventional amongst everything else in the car. The instrument cluster is all digital and can be programmed to show different parametres of the car as desired. The upper centre console is almost non-existent, the multi-media screen stands alone. The lower centre console features controls for the iDrive system, climate control, engine start-stop, transmission, traction control, driving modes and also a slot to keep the highly detailed 'key'.

2015 BMW i8 Interior Dashboard

The materials used inside highlight the eco-friendliness of the car, most of materials are naturally occurring or recycled, and are treated with ecologically friendly technologies to minimise its environmental impact. The leather used on the seats and dashboard are processed using olive-oil extracts, the fabrics used around the cabin is made with recycled materials. The i8 employs a 2+2 seating arrangement, the front two seats are well bolstered and luxurious, the rear seats meanwhile are essentially part of the monocoque except for the rear and bottom pads. Optional trim levels help customers express their individuality through the car.

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2015 BMW i8 Under the Skin

The i8's hybrid powertrain consists of a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol motor developing 231PS @ 5800rpm and 320Nm @ 3700rpm which is placed in front of the rear-axle like in a mid-engined sports car and an electric motor developing 131PS and 250Nm which is placed over the front axle. While the petrol motor runs of fuel loaded into a 32-litre tank, the electric motor runs off a lithium-ion battery pack which is placed along the centre of the cabin. The petrol engine drives the rear wheels via a 6-speed automatic gearbox while the electric powers the front via a two-speed transmission. Combined, the system generates a maximum power output of 362PS and 570Nm and can propel the 1485 Kg car from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, onto a top speed of 256 km/h.

2015 BMW i8 Rear Right Quarter Dynamic

The hybrid system can be used in different ways. In the Eco Pro and Comfort mode, the driver can choose to run on both hybrid power or electric power alone, the car is most efficient in these modes. In sport mode the hybrid system is used for maximum performance, the throttle response is sharper, the steering more responsive. The i8 in the Eco pro mode with a fully charged battery can go up to 35 km on pure electric propulsion, meanwhile the hybrid system can deliver 47.45 km/l! The battery can be fully charged in about two and half hours via a 220v point, it is also charged on the go by the petrol motor.

The aluminium chassis coupled to double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle provide the best combination for both sportscar dynamics and a luxurious ride. The electric power steering may not have the same feel as a hydraulic unit but it is better designed for both city maneuvering and hard cornering. The engines and batteries are placed as low as they can to improve the centre-of-gravity of the car. Power is transferred to the road via 20-inch 195mm section tyres at the front and 215mm section tyres at the rear. These may be low rolling resistance tyres but it will take a lot to make them loose traction.

Safety systems like dynamic stability control, ABS, corner braking stability, dynamic braking stability and whole host of other features. The CRPF body-shell is very strong and absorbs energy very well in high-force impacts, 8 airbags are provided as standard for that extra layer of safety.

The BMW is the first hybrid supercar to be officially launched in India and with its incredible combination of sportscar performance and dynamics, high-efficiency and eco-friendliness it certainly is one of the most unique cars on sale here today.
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