BMW is going to unveil the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, but in the meantime the automaker has released the first batch of specs for the i8, the flagship of its new i sub-brand. In addition to featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain wrapped in a sexy sports car body, the i8 will be the first production vehicle to be equipped with Gorilla’s chemically hardened glass, which is scratch-resistant and lighter than conventional glass.
Up until now the technology for the chemically hardened glass has been used mainly for smartphones, due to its very high strength. For the BMW i8 the partition between the passenger compartment and trunk of the BMW i8 consists of two layers of chemically hardened glass, each of which is just 0.7 millimeters thick. In addition to excellent acoustic properties, a further advantage of this solution is weight savings of around 50 percent compared with conventional laminated glass.
Thanks to the i8′s carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell and the addition of technology like the Gorilla Glass, the BMW i8 weighs less than 3,285 lbs. The BMW i8 is powered by a 231 horsepower turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine that is mated to a 131 horsepower electric motor. The four-cylinder engine powers the rear wheels, while the electric motor sends its power to the front. The i8 can travel up to 22 miles in full electric mode, reaches 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds and can be recharged in 1.5 hours using a 220-volt outlet.