The BMW i8 Is Beautiful And We Love It!
The are few cars that can excite the senses like a BMW i8 can
BY Roger Valberg | Aug 20, 2018 | News
The idea of electric cars is still perceived as a bit of a wet rag in most car circles. The raw gutteral sound an exhaust makes coming off a carburetor, be it NA, turbo or supercharged is something that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The ghost like hum of an electric dynamo then pales in comparison. Which is perhaps why lots of tradtional car folks, when switching to a modern steed, choose a hybrid. Yes, electric, but only when it counts - like slow speed driving in traffic jams. Otherwise, the joy of opening up the throttle on a long road trip remains.
And it's this mental picture that sits in my mind as I sit in front of a BMW i8 Coupe. Doing this, as one would in an art museum when appreciating the work of a master, is perhaps only fitting. The i8 is a concept car, an artist's rendering, a work of unimaginable fiction made real in alloy metals, tempered safety glass, carbon fibre, premium rubber and all the goodies that go into a car that tops RM1.3m for a buyer. It is a work of art in many ways but to sit in front of one and to take in the sweeps, rising and falling, is something visceral.
The acclaimed drivetrain of the New BMW i8 Coupé consists of an electric motor on the front axle and an internal combustion engine on the rear. The engine’s power is channelled to the rear wheels through a six-speed Steptronic transmission, while the electric motor drives the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. The high-voltage battery is located centrally in the car’s underbody to provide a low centre of gravity, with an increased cell capacity of 33 Ah from the previous 20 Ah. The electric motor output has increased by 9 kW to 105 kW, and the electric range now extends to 55 kilometres, broadening the reach of all-electric mobility well beyond the city limits.
The turbocharged three-cylinder combustion engine featuring direct injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing extracts a maximum output of 170 kW/231 hp from its displacement of just 1.5 litres, plus peak torque of 320 Nm. It is pleasantly refined and generates a distinctive soundtrack that now has an even sportier note. The engine also comes equipped with a particulate filter as standard that effectively absorbs all the particulate matter contained in the exhaust gases. The combined system output produced by the electric motor and engine acting in unison has also increased to 275 kW/374 hp in the New BMW i8 Coupé. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, with a fuel consumption of 1.8 l/100 km, which equates to 42 g/km for petrol CO2 emissions, and 14.0 kWh/100 km for electric power consumption.
The number of driving situations where the electric motor is solely responsible for powering the car has been significantly increased. By contrast, the combustion engine is only brought into play when accelerating hard and is switched off again far more frequently with a measured driving style. That's not to say you can't go led footed and fly down a highway but BMW has done it's best to reward you for being sensible!
The interior of the New BMW i8 Coupé continues the progressive design of the exterior with a classic BMW i8 drive orientation in line with the sporty, dynamic concept. The upper centre console to the instrument panel curves toward the driver in a very acute 12-degree angle. All controls and display elements are within perfect reach of the driver and easy to read. The cockpit is fitted out with the BMW Head-up Display that changes to a sports display that includes revs, gears and shift lights when performing manual gear changes in SPORT mode. The Navigation System Professional features the most up-to-date user interface, including a modern tile display with live mode. It is controlled using the iDrive operating system, comprising both a Touch Controller on the centre console and an 8.8-inch freestanding Control Display screen.
The bottomline though is that this work of art is over a million ringgit. In real terms, thats a five-year loan at around RM15,000 a month! It's a plugin hybrid which should tell people you're environmentally concious. But then again, just looking at this beast, you can imagine the fuss and attention you'll get rolling up in one. If electrics don't light your fire, then maybe a hybrid will burn the house down?