BMW i8 Spyder makes first public appearance

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BMW i8

The Spyder version of the BMW i8 was revealed at the Beijing Auto Show. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Last year, BMW showed off the i8, a gorgeous concept car heading for production as one of the first plug-in hybrids from BMW. A convertible version, the i8 Spyder, was recently shown off at the Beijing Auto Show.

A possible mission

BMW announced late last year that it was working on two “green” vehicles to augment its lineup. Both would be part of an all new line of cars, dubbed the “i” series. First was the i3, a compact electric city car, and then there was the i8, a plug-in hybrid sports car. The i8 instantly caused a sensation with its striking looks.

The rear wheels of the i8, according to the Chicago Tribune, are powered by a mid-mounted 223-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder engine  and a 131-horsepower electric motor drives the front wheels, giving it 354 horsepower and a 0 to 62 miles per hour time of five seconds.

Eventually, a convertible version was announced, dubbed the i8 Spyder. Initially, only sketches and renderings were released, but the real-life version of the concept car, according to USA Today, was recently displayed at the Beijing Auto Show.

Now in eDrive

The i8 Spyder shown in Beijing, according to MotorAuthority, had a badge on the car reading “eDrive.” Previously, BMW’s electric 1 series also was designated eDrive, which BMW says is going to be the designation for any of its vehicles which employ electric drive-train technology, whether an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.

The coupe version of the i8, according to AutoCar, is going to be a 2-plus-2, as it will have a rear seat. The Spyder will come as a roadster. It isn’t known what form of removable roof it will get, but AutoCar reports that it will come as a targa top with removable carbon fiber panels. The concept also has an indentation on the rear engine cover, which is said to be a storage compartment for the roof panels.

[Be not afraid; car loan finance is a cinch]

The i8 is going to enter production sometime in 2013 and will go on sale in early 2014. The i8 Spyder will follow two years later.

One nippy hybrid

The i8 and i8 Spyder will both be limited to a top speed of 155 miles per hour. The i8 is also going to be incredibly light for hybrids, with a projected weight of 3,200 pounds, according to MotorAuthority.

The all-electric range is projected to be 20 miles, at which point the gas engine will kick in. Gas mileage isn’t determined but, according to AutoCar, it could be up to 94 miles per gallon. Drivers will be able to select electric and gas drive at the same time, giving the car all-wheel-driven.

However, it is also likely to be very expensive, at a cost of at least $150,000.

Sources

Chicago Tribune

USA Today

Motor Authority

AutoCar: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle.aspx?AR=262052

MotorAuthority: http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1074789_bmw-i8-spyder-to-enter-production-two-years-after-coupe-report

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