BMW i8 2014 price, release date & specs
The BMW i8 supercar will be priced from £99,845, when it goes on sale in the summer
The BMW i8 is set to revolutionise the supercar market thanks to its ability to combine rapid performance with economy that even frugal conventional hatchbacks cannot hope to match.
The i8 also looks like nothing else on sale today. Although the familiar BMW kidney grille is there, the car is low and sleek, with an aerodynamic body that is designed to save fuel and aid performance.
Although exact measurements have yet to be released, the i8 is being sold as a 2+2 with plenty of space up front for adults, and two rear seats that are probably better reserved for children. The boot has a 154-litre capacity.
The i8 will be the first production car to feature laser lights. They’re an optional extra that is said to boost the headlights’ range to 600 metres (double that of a conventional LED setup), while reducing energy consumption by 30 per cent compared to LED lights. The small size of the laser diodes used means that laser headlights can also be much smaller than a conventional systems.
The cleverest parts of the BMW i8 are the bits you can’t see and the car is constructed from hi-tech materials, such as carbon fibre, which mean it is both very strong and extremely light – for a hybrid car that has the weight of two engines. The i8 will be one of the first production cars to offer carbon fibre-reinforced plastic wheels that save yet more weight. The rear window, meanwhile, is constructed from the same chemically-treated glass as a smartphone's screen because it's light, tough, and has excellent sound-insulating qualities.
Release date and price for the BMW i8
The BMW i8 will blend excellent performance with phenomenal economy and will be priced from £99,845, when it goes on sale in July. Order books for the car are filled until next year, and 100 people have already placed their deposits. A convertible version is also thought to be in development and could be with us by the end of the year.
Specifications for the BMW i8
The BMW i8 uses both a small petrol engine and an electric motor. Despite being just 1.5-litres in size, the petrol engine produces 228bhp and turns the rear wheels. Meanwhile, the front wheels are connected to an electric motor that produces 129bhp, which means the BMW i8 gets 357bhp in total, and four-wheel drive for excellent grip in corners and in slippery conditions.
The result is a car that can get from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155mph. What's most impressive is that it combines these figures with the ability to return up to 113mpg and CO2 emissions of 59g/km, for free road tax. The i8 can run for 22 miles on battery power alone, while its total range (when using both engines) is 310 miles.
The BMW M6, which would be a conventional rival for the i8, is only slightly quicker to 60, but can return just 28mpg.
BMW i8 dealers
The i8 will be sold at special ‘i’ dealers alongside the electric/hybrid BMW i3. Roughly a third of BMW showrooms in the UK are currently authorised to sell and service the i8.
BMW UK managing director Tim Abbott said: “Our BMW ‘i’ dealerships are located in the areas of the UK with the highest concentrations of population.”
The dealers are across the whole of the country, from BMW Park Lane in London to Westerly Exeter and Williams Liverpool. Showrooms in Aberdeen, Bristol and Jersey will also sell the ‘i’ range.
Future BMW electric cars
The BMW i8 will put new technology into everyday use, and we can expect to see some of its tech on more mainstream BMWs in the near future. The new MINI, for example, uses a less powerful version of the i8's petrol engine. We can also expect to see more ‘i’ cars in the future, with BMW set to develop the sub-brand alongside its more conventional cars.
Ian Robertson, BMW Global head of sales and marketing, said: "I'm sure some of the technology from the i8 will wash back into our other cars." That means we could see a BMW i4 saloon car with hybrid or electric power, and even an electric version of the BMW X5 SUV.
For full reviews of the BMW range, including our first-drive video of the revolutionary BMW i3, visit the Carbuyer BMW reviews page.