BMW i8 launched: A RM1.2 mil plug-in hybrid sports car with a 1.5L 3-cylinder engine [+Video]


BMW Group Malaysia, in a completely unanticipated move, announced the official arrival of the BMW i8. The model is by far the costliest Bimmer on sale right now, bandying a price tag of RM1,188,800 without insurance. Naysayers will find the price tag unjustifiable considering that this sports car comes with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, however do read on to find out how amazing this machine is.

QUICK FACTS

NameBMW i8
Engine1,499cc; inline 3-cyl with TwinPower Turbo
Electric MotorHybrid synchronous motor (131 hp & 250 Nm)
Transmission6-speed Steptronic Sport auto
Max Power362 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Max Torque570 Nm from 1,200 – 5,000 rpm
0 – 100 km/h4.4 seconds
Top Speed250 km/h
Price (OTR without insurance)RM1,188,800.00 with GST

The i8 is a highly advanced, lightweight sports car and is one of BMW’s most distinguished models of late. It sits on an aluminium chassis and the passenger cell is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Tipping the scale at just 1,485kg, the 2+2 plug-in hybrid sports car measures at 4,689mm in length, 1,942mm wide and is 1,293mm tall. The axles are 2,800mm apart and the i8 has a ground clearance of 117mm.

EXTERIOR

Standard exterior features include full LED headlamps with their distinctive LED DRLs, ‘Butterfly’ door design that opens upwards (they’re really light, don’t worry), beautiful LED tail lamps and 20-inch BMW i light alloy wheels. The front wheels are wrapped with 215/45 R20 series tyres whereas the rear wheels get fatter 245/40 R20 profile rubbers. All factory equipped tyres are run-flats and come with individual flat tyre indicator.

BMW i8_ (8)

INTERIOR

Sitting inside the i8 with the doors closed will have you realise how well the outside noise gets filtered out, and in that sweet moment of serenity, we dialed into the intricacies of its cabin. It is said that the leather used to wrap the instrument panel is tanned with olive leaf extracts, but the same cannot be said with the leather seats, we’re afraid.

Other interior features include automatic dual-zone air conditioning, power adjustable front seats with memory function, folding centre armrests with storage compartment, high definition 10.25-inch display monitor with GPS navigation, 3D mapping and arrow display, iDrive Touch Controller, on-board computer with Check Control, 16-speaker 600W Harman Kardon surround sound system and BMW Head-Up Display. You also get convenient features like cruise control with brake function, top and side view camera system as well as front and rear sensors – also known as Park Distance Control (PDC).

PERFORMANCE

Now for the most interesting part. We’ve already told you about its 1.5-litre engine, but what we have yet to tell you is that it’s paired to a hybrid synchronous motor that makes 131 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. The petrol engine on its own makes 231 hp at 5,800 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 3,700 rpm, courtesy of BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. Together with the electric motor, it makes for a combined output of 362 hp and 570 Nm of torque.

The all-new BMW i8 (4)

The numbers are good enough to propel this sub 1,500 kg green sports car from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, onto an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. As with the BMWs that we’ve come to know, the combustion engine sends its power to the rear wheels with a six-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, whereas the electric motor sends power to the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission. Battery type is lithium-ion with a gross capacity of 7.1 kWh, and gets to a full charge in three hours via a domestic charging port or two hours with BMW’s i Wallbox.

Even more impressive is its fuel consumption, rated at 2.1 litres per 100 km. There are five driving modes to choose from; Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro. The other two driving modes – Comfort and Eco Pro – can be toggled in pure electric mode simply by pressing the eDrive button. In pure electric mode, the i8 is capable of doing 35km and maxes out at 120 km/h.

WHAT ELSE?

The i8 again, is priced at RM1,88,800.00 on-the-road without insurance. It comes with a two-year warranty with unlimited mileage as well as a three-year or 60,000 km BS+RI free service and repair, whereas the battery gets an eight-year or 100,000km assurance coverage, whichever occurs first. Keep in mind that when buying the i8, the aforementioned price comes with the BMW i Wallbox for you to charge your car at home, but installation is a separate cost.

Catch the BMW i8 live in person at the BMW World Malaysia 2015 held at Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort from 17 to 19 April. Tickets, which cost at RM16.98, can be bought here.


IMAGE GALLERY


Matthew H. Tong

Matthew H. Tong

A straightforward, fun-loving guy who appreciates the superficiality of a car's appeal, but his admiration for anything on four wheels gives him no reason to neglect the makings of a car. He still believes that fun comes with three pedals and a stick.
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