As Kathlene Shulz, Group Marketing Manager, talked through the car’s features at Gold Coast BMW, I was immediately impressed. She was an amazing mentor and explained the car in great detail to me. It’s surprisingly simple to adapt when driven out of the showroom.
I have to say this is the first car I’ve borrowed to test drive where I’ve taken a battery charger home in the boot with me to plug in. Yes, Hybrid technology is here in supercar model - and its mine to road test over the next three days.
Forget the Prius or taxi that often springs to mind when people mention the word ‘hybrid’. BMW designers have truly mastered the Hybrid model. The all new i8 has been built for the select group who appreciate power and new technology over the typical larger V8 motor and high fuel consumption.
This may sound slightly unorthodox, but the BMW i8 is such a hot looking car I just had to show it off to the public straight away. It’s a natural headturner; it’s new to the road and there are very few in the country, let alone in the streets of main beach!
Let’s say some by standers were amazed not only at the looks of this amazing supercar but the sheer presence it has as I drove into Tedder Avenue.
There were definitely some conversations being had over lunch as this slinky, carbonfibre 2+2-seat coupe rolled into town. One said –“it looks like it just rolled off the concept car floor out of a motorshow in Gemany”. They’re not wrong…
Lets get to the important question – how does this sexy beast perform? The BMW Twin Power Turbo 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine, which was newly developed as part of the BMW Efficient Dynamics strategy, unites all the advantages that one would expect from the power unit of a sports car.
Its engine management guarantees optimum charge changing processes across the ignition point and ensures a rapid response from the turbocharger. During operation, the 170 kW (231 hp) engine proves to be extremely free-revving and delivers up to 320 Nm of torque.
At the same time, the dynamics and high performance level are accompanied by outstanding efficiency, as demonstrated by the combined consumption of only 2.1 l/100 km.
With the eDrive button pressed, 100 % electric driving is possible in the BMW i8, with power coming via the front axle only. The hybrid mode allows the intelligent combination of two types of drive that provide optimal traction in every situation. The electric drive is located on the front axle, while a high-performance 3-cylinder engine works at the rear axle. All four wheels can be powered simultaneously by two engines. Depending on the driving situation this utilises the advantages of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Outside the city, the fully-fledged all-wheel drive of the BMW i8 shows its true strength – at speeds of up to 250 km/h which I admit I didn’t quite reach.
As part of the ‘i’ brand, the i8, like the i3, is ‘born electric’ – meaning the cars are produced from the ground up for electrification. They share little in terms of platform with other BMWs and in the i8’s case, the extensive use of carbonfibre-reinforced plastics (CFRB) and aluminium throughout the body helps keep its weight – with the batteries and electric motor – to just 1485 kilograms.
1.5 L 170kW/570 Nm, Combined range up to 600 km, fuel consumption 2.1 l/100km
Slim steering wheel, bright blue seatbelts, a futuristic all-TFT speedometer and tachometer and both lashings of leather everywhere makes this supercar feel as good as it looks.
Behind the wheel the BMW i8 is a delight to drive at speed. Its light weight makes it very welcoming of hard and fast corners and the electric powertrain delivers heaps of torque just when you need it.
Standard features include satellite navigation with Harman Kardon HiFi audio system, ConnectedDrive functions (letting you use the BMW i Remote smartphone app for battery and vehicle data management), rear, side and surround view cameras, head-up display as well as driving assistant systems and intelligent emergency call for automatic response to accidents which I was proud to say I didn’t need to use whilst in my possession.
I also put the BMW's Connected Drive connectivity through its paces. I paired the BMW i8 with the Apple iPhone and BMW iRemote and I also paired with the Apple Watch to see how this technology works. This application allows you to air condition your car remotely, lock and unlock it remotely along with find its location and closeby charging stations for ease for the driver.
6-speed auto transmission, driving the rear wheels with gearshift paddles.
Hybrid synchronous electric motor 96kW/ 250 Nm 2 speed transmission driving the front wheels.
Mid-engine layout, allows for agile turning and 50/50 weight distribution.
Eco is certainly the future of our motorcar business….
I was also lucky enough to experience the i3 and wasn’t this a delightful experience. I honestly was surprised.
The i3 is quiet, roomy and comfortable, making for easy conversation. The cabin looks like something from an Ikea catalogue, with light grained wood and generic grey felt. A new darker oak wood trim is also available. It feels like a golf buggy on steroids, with rear-drive, direct steering and a tight turning circle. It’s stealth-fighter quiet, smooth and surprisingly quick off the mark, thanks to the electric motor.
High-voltage battery (lithium-ion), fast charging DC. 9.86m for agile driving, small turning circle.
i3 and i8 manufactured at Leipzig, Germany, carbon-neutral production plant is the world's most sustainable car factory. Manufactured without emissions and entire lifecycle is sustainable; including sourcing, production, usage and subsequent recycling.
Car is up to 95% recyclable, battery modules can be reused eg. solar energy storage units.
Functionally dynamic exterior and a clean and reduced interior space. The innovative BMW eDrive power system is not only locally emission-free and offers incomparable driving pleasure; it is also a relaxing and near-silent driving experience.
* Natural, renewable, and sustainable: the interior of the BMW i3 features door trim panels and a dashboard made from renewable natural fibres, naturally tanned leather, and open-pore fast-growing eucalyptus wood sourced from 100 % FSC®-certified forestry. Overall, 25 % renewable raw materials and recycled plastics were used in the interior of the BMW i3. The textile upholsteries are made of up to 100 % recycled polyester, produced using 34 % PET. A further 25 % recycled plastics are used in the exterior.
Driving the range of Hybrid vehicles over the duration of four days I can certainly understand the reasoning behind BMW’s new technology and hybrid concepts. Fuel consumption is as little as 2.3l/100 coupled with state of the art design and power plants it really is the new era of sheer driving pleasure.
Gold Coast BWM is situated on 82 - 84 Nerang Street Southport and the team are always available to assist with your enquires. Phone the team today 55577999.