Driven - - Ev News - Im­age © BMW SOUTH AFRICA

The BMW i8 has been the poster child for the sports car of the fu­ture since it was launched 2014. With its fu­tur­is­tic de­sign, this 2+2-seater has been a real ob­ject of de­sire and a tech­no­log­i­cal pi­o­neer, mak­ing it the world’s high­est-sell­ing hy­brid sports car. Re­cently re­leased in South Africa, the dash­ing new BMW i8 Road­ster and Coupé take the al­lure of sus­tain­able driv­ing plea­sure and sports car per­for­mance to a new di­men­sion.

The new BMW i8 is pow­ered by a drive duo in the form of a hy­brid syn­chro­nous elec­tric mo­tor and a three-cylin­der petrol en­gine with BMW Twin­Power Turbo tech­nol­ogy. The en­gine’s power is chan­nelled to the rear wheels through a six-speed Step­tronic trans­mis­sion, while the elec­tric mo­tor pro­pels the front wheels via a two-speed au­to­matic gear­box. The re­sult is an all-wheel-drive sys­tem that glues the car to the road.

The gross en­ergy ca­pac­ity of the lithi­u­mion bat­tery has been in­creased from 7.1 to 11.6-kilo­watt-hours (kWh), which in­creases the elec­tric mo­tor’s peak out­put by 9 kW to 105 kW. With max­i­mum torque of 250 Nm from rest, the BMW i8 de­liv­ers ra­zor-sharp re­sponses to the slight­est move­ment of the ac­cel­er­a­tor and ex­cep­tion­ally smooth ac­cel­er­a­tion in elec­tric mode. Ca­pa­ble of reach­ing speeds of up to 105 km/h purely on the elec­tric mo­tor’s power, the BMW i8 al­lows for a zero-emis­sions drive not just in town, but on coun­try roads as well. And, at the push of the eDrive but­ton, the all-elec­tric thresh­old is in­creased fur­ther to 120 km/h. The new bat­tery also ben­e­fits the elec­tric range of the two plug-in hy­brid sports cars, with the i8 Coupé ca­pa­ble of up to 55 km on elec­tric power only, and the i8 Road­ster up to 53 km.

The tur­bocharged three-cylin­der en­gine de­liv­ers a max­i­mum out­put of 170 kW from its dis­place­ment of just 1.5-litres, plus peak torque of 320 Nm. The en­gine is pleas­antly refined and gen­er­ates a dis­tinc­tive and sonorous sound­track that now has an even sportier note when its power re­serves are called upon.

The sys­tem out­put pro­duced by the elec­tric mo­tor and en­gine act­ing in uni­son has in­creased to 275 kW, and with a to­tal of 570 Nm of torque on hand, the new BMW i8 Coupé ac­cel­er­ates from nought to 100 km/h in 4.4 sec­onds, while the new BMW i8 Road­ster takes a tick longer with a time of 4.6 sec­onds. Both mod­els have an elec­tron­i­cally lim­ited top speed of 250 km/h.

Both the Coupé and Road­ster re­turn fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions fig­ures that un­der­cut those for con­ven­tion­ally pow­ered sports cars with sim­i­lar out­puts by around 50%.

The new BMW i8 Road­ster comes with an all-sea­son fab­ric soft-top with ad­di­tional sound­proof­ing, and can be opened or closed in an al­most silent hush, within 15 sec­onds and while trav­el­ling at up to 50 km/h, if re­quired.

Ground­break­ing light­weight con­struc­tion, sleek aero­dy­nam­ics and avant-garde de­sign, com­bined with BMWs lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal fea­tures, make the BMW i8 an in­stant clas­sic as it con­tin­ues its trail­blaz­ing leap to­wards a sus­tain­able fu­ture.



BMW i8 Coupé: R 2,095,200 BMW i8 Road­ster: R 2,329,300

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