BMW just officially unveiled its gorgeous i8 Concept Spyder, which is the third BMW i model following the i3 and i8 concepts. The BMW i8 Concept Spyder offers a glimpse of future supercars with its lightweight design and hybrid technology, which combine to create a world class sports car that consumes no more fuel than a small car. The Spyder is a topless, shorter version of the i8 Concept coupe. It is propelled by a 131 horsepower electric motor that powers the front wheels and a turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine with 223 horsepower sends power to the rear wheels. The hybrid system puts out a combined 354 horsepower and propels the concept from 0-62 mph in five seconds.
Even with 354 horsepower on tap, the i8 Concept Spyder only consumes 94 mpg on the European cycle. The Spyder also has the ability to send power through the front, rear or all four wheels at the same time. Intelligent control electronics ensure that the optimum drive configuration is available for the situation at hand. The driver can view the driving mode currently engaged and monitor the activity of the two drive sources on the large information display in the cockpit.
The i8 Concept Spyder seats two passengers and has striking features like upward-swivelling, windowless doors and a transparent glass panel at the rear. Two electric kickboards are also stowed under the glass panel to provide even more recreational appeal. BMW claims that the Spyder can travel up to 19 miles on electric power alone, and it takes less than two hours to fully charge the lithium-ion battery. To keep the concept’s weight down, BMW used carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic for the passenger cell, while the powertrain is made primarily from aluminum.
According to BMW, the BMW i sub-brand is about the development of visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design, and a new premium perception strongly guided by sustainability. Key elements include groundbreaking technologies, intelligent lightweight design and the innovative use of materials, all with the aim of creating vehicles with extremely low weight, the greatest possible range, generous interior space, poised and authoritative driving characteristics, and exceptional safety.