Visitors to the 2011 Johannesburg International Motor Show will be able to see the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept up close at the manufacturer’s stand at the Expo Centre, Nasrec, between October 6-16.
The BMW Vision Concept is the forerunner to the latest i8, which is powered by a turbocharged petrol engine combined with an electric motor. The i8′s 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, forced-induction petrol engine produces an astonishing 164 kW and 300 Nm of torque and is ably assisted by a 96 kW / 250 Nm electric motor, which draws power from a lithium-ion battery positioned between the front and rear axles.
Although the Vision Concept, pictured here, uses a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, the i8′s petrol-electric version produces a combined maximum power output of 260 kW and 550 Nm. This allows the i8 Concept to accelerate from 0 – 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds (80-120km/h in 4.0 seconds) and will go on to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
Besides being a high performance car, the BMW i8 can also be driven in fully electric zero-emissions mode for up to 35 km from a standard power socket takes approximately 105 minutes. Even more impressive is the i8 Concept’s fuel consumption of 2.7 L/100km in the combined European driving cycle.
Despite its frugality, the i8 promises a sporty drive – by positioning the petrol engine over the rear axle and the electric motor over the front axle, with the battery positioned between the two – the i8 boasts 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity. But it’s not all about high-performance, dynamic driving – the 2+2 i8 is versatile too, and can be driven in silent, front-wheel drive electric form, rear-wheel drive or even in all-wheel drive mode, depending on your requirement.
The newer i8 is largely unchanged from the Vision EfficientDynamics concept currently on display at JIMS, and as such, indicates BMW’s new ‘i’ design language – with the body incorporating carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in white, high-gloss black and stream blue, while vast expanses of glass make up the roof section. Aerodynamics was a major influence in the overall construction, which has been optimised to cut through the air as efficiently as possible. The overlapping, layered surfaces contribute to this, and give the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept car a dynamic, three-dimensional appearance.
This flowing design continues inside the cabin, with the central screen and console directed towards the driver, while a smaller instrument panel sits behind the steering wheel to provide further information. Interior surfaces are a combination of leather, metals and high-gloss piano black plastics.
A production version of the newer BMW i8 Concept, which is based upon the Vision concept seen here, is expected to go on sale in 2014.