Groundbreaking plug-in hybrid updated: more power, extended electric range
The new BMW i8 Coupé has arrived in Malaysia. To differentiate the i8 from the new open top variant, the i8 Roadster, the i8 is now the i8 Coupé, with “Coupé” badging on the rear pillar.
Arguably the world’s most stylish mass production hybrid, the i8’s turbo three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine powers the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox, with manual gear selection, while a two-speed electric motor housed under the “bonnet” works the front wheels. The combustion engine output remains the same at 228bhp (with 320Nm peak torque) but the electric motor now produces 105kW, up 9kW. The combined maximum output now to 374bhp from the previous . There’s also a new higher capacity high-voltage lithium-ion battery, now 33Ah, up 13Ah from the previous 20 which extends the electric range by almost 50 percent to 55 kilometres.
Despite the power increase, the i8’s claimed performance for 0-100km/h is still 4.4 seconds, delivering 55.6km for every litre of fuel it consumes, generating 42g/km of CO2 on petrol and consuming 14.0 kWh/100km of electric power.
For improved emissions reduction, the duration of all-electric, eDrive, mode has been expanded, limiting petrol-use to moments of hard, rapid acceleration before reverting to motor power. The i8 is a mobile shrine to physics and the exploitation of kinetic energy: electricity is created and its use managed through various systems: anything that guides, propels, glides, pulls, drags or stops the i8, has been tapped as a source of electricity generation or its conservation, including the navigation system which analyses the route and preps the drive train for most efficient energy use. As with all BMWs there are three drive modes, EcoPro, Comfort and Sport, to temper engine response according to driver mood. eDrive is available in Comfort and EcoPro modes.
The i8’s low wind-resistance wedge-shaped carbon fibre reinforce polymer body has a very low drag coefficient of 0.22. The body has no visible modifications in the midlife update but the flow of cooling air at the front has been rerouted. Instead of rushing out through the outlet in the bonnet, the air escapes at the sides of the car near the wheel arches and into the underbody. The Coupé is fitted with new 20-inch BMW i light-alloy wheels in radial-spoke style and 516 jet black paint. The new wheels are 1kg lighter which would improve handling.
The bulk of the upgrades are in the i8 including the latest generation iDrive system with Apple CarPlay integration, the most up-to-date BMW ConnectedDrive Services offered and interior finish: Tera World Copper interior trim, featuring cloth/leather upholstery in an Amido/E-Copper colour scheme.
The BMW i8 on-the-road, with 0% GST, without insurance and SST) is RM 1,310,800.00 with five years unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled service programme, 24-month tyre warranty for the run flat tyre, roadside assistance and accident hotline, BMW Service Online and the BMW White Card with its attendant privileges.