BMW’s new i8 plug-in hybrid sports car made its official world debut at 2013’s Frankfurt Auto Show, but development of the car’s advanced powertrain has been ongoing in the lead up to the start of production in just a few weeks. BMW has revealed that in parallel to the completion of the statutory type approval for the car, engineers were also able to achieve further improvements in key driving performance and fuel consumption aspects.

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BMW has confirmed that the new i8 will be able to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, from 50-75 mph in 2.6 seconds, reach a governed top speed of 155 mph, and offer gas mileage of up to 112 mpg for the European combined cycle. As it is a plug-in hybrid we’re talking about, achieving such stellar mileage will depend on how often you use the car’s electric mode.

Real world figures are likely to be significantly lower, though still much higher than a conventional car offering similar performance. In fact, BMW states that in typical everyday commuting, with the battery fully charged at the start of the journey, the i8 will return gas mileage of about 47 mpg or better. Add some highway driving and the gas mileage will slip to about 33 mpg.

In electric mode, the i8 has a top speed of 75 mph and a driving range of about 23 miles. Charge times for the car’s 5.2-kWh lithium-ion battery, meanwhile, is said to take no more than three hours.

As previously reported, forming the plug-in hybrid system of the i8 is a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine rated at 231 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and an electric motor rated at 131 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The engine powers the rear wheels while the electric motor spins the front pair, making the i8 a ‘through-the-road’ all-wheel-drive hybrid. System output is a reasonable 362 horsepower. The i8’s curb weight is 3,273 pounds and the drag coefficient is a low 0.26.

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Deliveries of the i8 commence in Europe this June. We’re expecting the first i8s to land in the U.S. in the second half of the year, making it a 2015 model. Pricing for the car starts at a very reasonable--given the technology and performance--$135,925 including destination. The only other performance cars with similar technology are the million-dollar hypercars from Porsche, McLaren and Ferrari.


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