If you bought a 2015 BMW i8 based on its styling alone, we'd not begrudge you for it. While BMW's i3 has gone for high-tech and futuristic styling, the i8's designers added some good, old-fashioned beauty to the plug-in hybrid sports car.

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There's more to it than styling though, and BMW has released a video detailing the i8's technical highlights—showing how the lightweight construction and clever detailing enhance its efficiency irrespective of its drivetrain. That starts with BMW's 'Life Drive' module; the use of a lightweight aluminum structure housing powertrain components, and the carbon tub lending strength to the passenger cell.

BMW is the first company to truly mass-produce a carbon fiber vehicle. Material is produced in the U.S.—using hydro power to supply the energy needed for its construction—before parts are shipped to the German production line. There they're bonded and formed into the i8's lightweight structure—50 percent lighter than steel and almost a third lighter than aluminum. Lightweight technology extends to a small acoustic screen between the cabin and engine compartment—lighter and more flexible than glass, it also minimizes the need for heavy sound-damping materials. Were you to remove your i8's dashboard, you'd find a magnesium structure.

Aerodynamics has also played a part in the i8's design, from its aero-optimized wheels to the sleek body to its 0.26 coefficient of drag—on par with many econo hybrids and other eco-biased vehicles on the market. All this doesn't just help economy, of course, but performance—helping the 357-horsepower, 420 lb-ft engine and electric drivetrain slingshot the car to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Did we mention that it looks great, too?...


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