A while ago the world caught a glimpse of the i8 concept in the trailer for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Today we finally get to see the i8 and the i3 concepts in their full glory fresh off a private debut in Frankfurt. What do we know so far? Well lets start with the i3. The i3 is meant to be a pure electric rear-wheel drive vehicle with most of its body panels being made of carbon fiber for optimum weight savings efficiency. They also want the i3 to provide plenty of utility which explains the hatch back design which BMW claims will comfortably transport four people and still have plenty of space for luggage. It looks like the i3 is gunning for the same market that Tesla Model S is aimed at but in a smaller package.
Then there is the i8. The i8 picks up where the i3 leaves off and immediately turns in the direction of performance. With a long wheel base and a sloping slippery aerodynamic design the i8 is squarely aimed at those who want to have fun while having a clear conscience when it comes to their carbon foot print. The i8 will have an electric motor mounted up front like the i3, however the i8 is a plug in hybrid. Nestled next to the electric motor on the i8 will be a 1.5 liter three cylinder (yes, three) turbocharged gasoline engine good for 220hp. The electric motor will drive the front wheels while the gasoline engine will drive the rear wheels and the driver will be able to toggle between the two drive trains depending on what driving mode they select. In all electric mode you have a front wheel drive car, in gasoline only mode you have a rear wheel drive car, and I am sure there will be some type of “awesome mode” that will have the two working together for an all-wheel-drive set up. We are pretty sure the i8 will also have many of its body panels made from carbon fiber as well.
This “i concept” deal is the next big thing for BMW so expect to hear more about these cars in the near future. In the meantime check out the pics, and tons of videos below of the i3 hatchback and the i8 coupe.