I8 is set to sizzle
BMW’S petrol-electric twoseater is poised to go live
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).’’