I8 is set to siz­zle

BMW’S petrol-elec­tric twoseater is poised to go live

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

strong in­ter­est,’’ BMW Aus­tralia spokesman Piers Scott re­veals to Cars­guide.

‘‘ It’s a real per­for­mance car and, given the sup­port for the var­i­ousBMWM­cars here, we’ve been lucky to get early al­lo­ca­tions from the fac­tory.’’

The early tease on the i-car launch plans comes de­spite ru­mours from Europe that BMWwas wind­ing back sup­port for its elec­tric and hy­brid plans be­cause of poor sales and no profit for other early ar­rivals, in­clud­ing the GMVolt, Nis­san Leaf and Mit­subishi i-MiEV.

Scott says noth­ing has changed andBMWwas al­ways aim­ing for a grad­ual ramp-up. The me­chan­i­cal pack­age for the i3, as used in the Ac­tive-E pro­to­type, made a very pos­i­tive im­pres­sion on Cars­guide in Ger­many ear­lier this year.

‘‘ There is no de­lay on the launch. In the ramp-up for pro­duc­tion, the tap will be turned on slowly,’’ says Scott.

The two mod­els will be built at Leipzig in Ger­many and BMWis spend­ing big, not just on the rad­i­cal new pow­er­trains but also on the car­bon-fi­bre tech­nol­ogy in­tended to slash weight and im­prove ef­fi­ciency.

The i3 is con­firmed as a fully elec­tric plug-in car, al­though Scott says there will be a range­ex­ten­der model sim­i­lar to the Volt, while the i8 com­bines a three-cylin­der, 164kW com­bus­tion engine with a pair of elec­tric mo­tors. The re­sult is a claimed 0-100km/h sprint in less than 5.0 sec­onds with econ­omy of 2.7 litres/100km.

Scott saysBMWAus­tralia is work­ing on its launch pro­gram, in­clud­ing dealer and ser­vice sup­port: ‘‘ The plan is a si­mul­ta­ne­ous launch. We should get both cars around the mid­dle of 2014 in Aus­tralia.

‘‘ The i3 ap­pears on the global stage some­what ear­lier but, be­cause ma­jor mar­kets with mega-cities will get pri­or­ity, we won’t get it for six to eight months.

‘‘ And that’s closer to when the i8 will ap­pear.

‘‘ We’d look at the Audi R8 as a po­ten­tial com­peti­tor (for the i8).’’

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