Roadshow Video Reviews
BMW i3 and i8 ConceptsAt the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, BMW points at the next generation of vehicles that look toward efficiency more than luxury.
-You know, all the rage these days seems to be auto makers developing sub brands of very efficient cars. Here's BMWs. It's gonna be called the i-Series, but it's a whole sub-brand of their standard line of vehicles kind of the way Toyota is expanding Prius to be an entire sub-brand of their line of cars. Now, what's happening here is a pure electric on this car. I'm gonna show you another i in just few moments. This is a little mega city car if you will. It's about 100 miles on a charge, lots of aluminum and carbon fiber, keeping the weight down to under 1000 kilograms. That's, what, about 2700 pounds, not super light, not Tesla Roadster light, but we're getting in there. As you could see, we've got a lot of show car features here. Those suicide doors will never make it with a reduction, neither will that spacey dashboard. When this car comes to market in 2013, we're talking about a very different kind of BMW, one that is all about electricity and not necessarily all about the ultimate driving machine message. Efficiency is becoming a huge headline for this folks. But they pointed that while this car is a city car, it's not a dingy little car. This is a pretty spacious machine even in total concept car trim here, but let me show you the i-Series that you really want. Let's see i8. It's over here. Okay. This one is called the i8 concept. Now, we're talking even more showcarish, even less likely to show up in the showroom in its form in 2014 when it does arrive; however, let's take a look at this. Now, this is not pure electric. It's a plug-in hybrid, so it can get a lot of electric range because it's got big batteries as plug-ins do, but it's also got a 3-cylinder twin power turbo gas engine. Now, twin power could mean different things in BMW language. That can mean a twin stage, single turbo, or twin turbo. I don't know at this point, but it gives this car big performance aspirations, not just deficiencies, 0 to 16 in under 5 seconds while delivering something around 87 miles per gallon. They're also talking a lot about the connected services that will be coming in all these i-Series vehicles. Things like Park-At-My-House, a service where you can let people park at your space where you live or drive them out, which is a car sharing service between BMW and a big rental company in Europe that focuses solely on city car share of efficient vehicles like that i3, and of course, you can see inside the dash of this i8, they're envisioning all kinds of connected services for navigation, communication, streaming infotainment of all kinds, and I also see what appears to be a vision of an augmented reality screen, laying information on an actual view of the road in front of you, but again, this is a show car stuff and the details, the big story here is BMW is launching a sub-brand of electric or highly electrified vehicles, 2013 for the i3, 2014 for the i8.