Production of BMW i8 Coupé, Roadster to end in April
It’s official – the BMW i8 chapter will be coming to an end in April 2020, six years after the iconic plug-in hybrid sports car made its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Both the i8 Coupé and Roadster will bow out after laying down the foundations for the BMW Group’s current crop of plug-in hybrid models.
According to a statement by BMW, the i8 has turned into the world’s most successful sports car with an electrified system. Over 20,000 units of the car have been sold since its market launch in 2014, which is more than all the competitors in its segment combined. What’s more, the i8 held a global market share of over 50% in the segment of sports cars with electrified powertrain, a position it can maintain until mid-April 2020.
Just as a refresher, the i8 is a 2+2 seater sports car that boasts a perfect 50:50 weight distribution. It sits on BMW’s LifeDrive architecture, while the passenger cell (life module) is made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. The drive module is made from lightweight aluminium, all of which enables a dry weight of less than 1,500 kg. The battery is positioned centrally under the floor of the car, so centre of gravity is shifted down.
In terms of powertrain, primary propulsion comes from a 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine, making 228 hp and 320 Nm of torque. This is routed to the rear wheels via a six-speed Steptronic transmission. The electric motor, on the other hand, produces 141 hp (105 kW) and drives the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. In total, the overall system output is rated at 369 hp, enough to send the car from nought to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds (4.6 seconds for the Roadster), and a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
The facelifted i8 came with a larger 11.6 kWh battery pack, resulting in an extended zero emissions drive range of 55 km. That’s 50% more than what the 7.1 kWh battery pack would provide before. Charging can be done via a domestic power socket (10A, 230V), with a full charge attained in 4.5 hours. A dedicated 3.7 kW i Wallbox (16A, 230V) gets that done in three hours.
Now, it’s unclear if the i8 will eventually be succeeded, but an earlier report suggests that there will be no immediate replacement. However, a report by Automobile Magazine states that BMW is planning a new mid-engined, full electric flagship called the i12, and the fifth-generation eDrive powertrain can offer up to 700 km in battery range, as well as up to 710 hp, as showcased by the Power BEV experimental car. In any case, we tip our hats off to the i8, and we’ll be praying for a worthy successor.
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