BMW easily had one of the biggest presences at the show this year. Not only did they have their standard booth but just outside of the convention center there was a station with 50 brand new BMW i3’s at what was dubbed “The i3 experience” just waiting there for anyone to test drive. In fact, I don’t even think you need a LA Auto Show ticket to go on a test drive. I could be wrong though so double check if you are planning to head to LA for the show.
Back inside, however it was all about the “i” as BMW gave the production-spec i8 coupe its North American debut; yet, I only have one picture of it. Why? Because the i8 coupe was absolutely swarmed with international media for nearly the entire stretch of press days! Even from the one clear shot I did get, its easy to see why there was such a crowd around it. The i8 coupe looks like a street legal spaceship! More than a handful of the styling cues from the concept made it to the production version which means no matter what this thing will turn its fare share of heads.
Behind all the crazy futuristic bodylines and sculpted LED lights sits one of the most advanced hybrid systems that BMW has ever produced, bolstered by a supercharged 3 cylinder engine that makes 231hp and a 131hp electric motor. The power numbers may seem a bit less than impressive but when you take into account that much of the car is made from a special carbon fiber reinforced plastic then the power to weight ratio becomes something to consider.
Although I think the more impressive number is the price. The i8 will start at $135,ooo! With an MSRP like that I have to wonder if the i8 will be a serious sales contender of this is just more of a PR stunt by BMW to showcase hybrid tech that they plan to include in future models. If the latter is the case then I think the concept would have been more than enough to get the point across.
Beyond the i8, BMW debuted the 4 series convertible. While cool, it wasn’t something that really stopped me in my tracks. I mean who didn’t expect them to take the top off the new 4 series? Additionally BMW debuted the X4 concept. The X4 is essentially what it sounds like and will be a new crossover vehicle to replace the X3. It looked like a great soccer mom van alternative and it will probably do quite well in the luxury crossover segment.
One of my favorite things at the BMW booth however was a 3 series sedan totally decked out with M performance accessories. Sometimes the add-ons really are worth it!
If you would like to see the official intro video for the i8 coupe just scroll down. For pictures of everything at the BMW booth just click any of the thumbnails to enlarge.