BMW’s finally released the specifications of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle [PHEV], and they’re sure to please. The price will boggle you, though.
Could the BMW i8 be one of those guilty pleasures without the guilt? I’ll admit that I enjoy performance vehicles as much as the next person, from my 12mpg 1993 Jeep Wrangler, outfitted for off-roading, to taking a Toyota MR2 Spyder fresh off the truck to 140mph on I-90, in spite of the fact that I needed Crisco to squeeze into the thing. The guilty part came when I had to fill their fuel tanks, way too often, actually. What if you could have all the performance with none of that nasty carbon aftertaste?
Recently, we looked at how Land Rover electrified one of their off-road SUVs, something I would love to try in the muddy trails of Vermont if I could. On the pavement, however, the BMW i8 PHEV could be exactly what carbon-eschewing performance lovers are looking for. We first saw this as a concept in 2009, and finally we’ve got some actual information to share. Starting at $120,000, the i8 is what you would expect of BMW. Still, isn’t what is on the inside that counts?
The BMW i8‘s chassis is light, a generous application of carbon fiber dropping weight under 3,300lb, around the size of its target, the Porsche 911 4S Carrera, and a 50:50 weight distribution for handling. The PHEV powertrain is composed of a 228hp 1.5ℓ i3 engine and six-speed transmission in the rear, and a 129hp electric motor in the front. Total output exceeds 350hp and 400lb•ft of torque, just what you need to put you in your seat with a zero-to-sixty time of just 4.5s and a top speed of 184mph. All this and 22mi EV range and 94mpg. Guilt? What guilt?