BMW has revealed the latest iteration of its i8 in the forms of Concept Spyder version, which is due to bow in at Beijing Autoshow in late April 2012. The original i8 concept was unveiled in Frankfurt Motorshow in September 2011 in 2+2 coupe form.
While the Spyder version evolves from the Coupe version from last year, both cars actually are an evolution from BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics from 2009. For the i8 Sports Concept 2011, the car loses the Vision ED layered sills, the rear end has been rationalized with reduced floating panel and of course, the interior is more production-feasible, albeit still with flamboyant show car detailing.
The Spyder version here has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length. The dimensions are now 4,450mm long, 1,208mm tall and 1,922mm wide. The Spyder rides on 2,650mm wheelbase. Compared to the earlier Coupe sibling, the Spyder is 150mm shorter, 78mm narrower and 92mm lower. As opposed the Sports Concept version, the Spyder is a pure 2 seater, with about 100L of storage space to boot. The Spyder version also loses the transparent door setup, and in comes the elegant upward-swivelling window-less door. The rear end now has a transparent glass cover, where underneath it sits the eDrive plug-in hybrid system. More after the jump.
The eDrive system is a plug-in hybrid that combines two different power sources and employing the specific advantages of its electric motor and combustion engine to optimum effect. The 131hp electric motor on the front axle works in tandem with a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine sending 223hp through the rear wheels. Both units are in-house BMW Group developments and generate an aggregate system output of 354hp and peak torque of 550 Nm. The power is sufficient to propel 1,630kg BMW i8 Concept Spyder from 0 to 100 km/h in 5s flat on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h.
Despite this burning supercar-rivalling performance, the two-seater burns just 3L/100 kilometres in the European test cycle. In terms of power supply arrangement, the electric motor sources its energy from a lithium-ion battery which can be fully charged from a domestic power socket in less than two hours. The high-output battery is located in the energy tunnel between the front and rear axle modules in order to keep the car’s centre of gravity as low as possible and therefore to maximise the car’s dynamic performance. The space-saving and well-balanced packaging of this and other drive and chassis components gives the sporting two-seater ideal 50:50 weight distribution, essentially a BMW hallmark features.
The interior architecture retains the basic layout from BMW i8 Sports Concept, albeit with different color scheme. The i8 gets the latest of BMW Connectivity features which includes a new generation of driver assistance systems at their disposal which significantly enhance both safety and comfort. For example, the camera-based proactive Collision Warning system, Parking Assistant and Traffic Jam Assistant ensure all on board can enjoy a safe and relaxed journey. In addition, BMW i is developing an array of innovative connectivity functions which provide a seamless link between its models and their owners other gadgets. Remote functions accessed via a smartphone help users to locate their car in large car parks (CarFinder), show nearby charging stations, allow the battery to be charged at pre-set times and inform drivers on the current status of their vehicle. The Last Mile Navigation function, meanwhile, assists drivers after they have parked their car, with route instructions transferred directly onto their smartphone directing them along the last leg of their journey on foot. The Intermodal Route Planning function effectively integrates the car into the local public transport network and provides information on current parking availability at the driver’s destination.
As the car has been progressing from the glitzy show car in 2009 to the current state as it is now, it is a given that the production stage is imminent. With the Coupe version slated to be on sale sometimes in 2013, the Spyder version could follow suit in 2-3 years down the road.