BMW’s new i8 Coupé Defines Electric Hybrid Sex Appeal

BMW Malaysia has launched the new BMW i8 Coupé LCI, the brand’s hybrid-electric sports car.

 

It looks the same… but…

Visual improvements are subtle, with an added Coupé badge on the C-pillar and new 20-inch Jet Black light-alloy wheels. Aerodynamically, the bonnet on the new i8 now features an active air shutter that opens or closes on the needs of cooling or aerodynamics. When the latter is prioritised, the flow of cooling air at the front is now rerouted to direct air to the sides of the car near the wheel arches and into the underbody.

 

On the inside, the trim features an open-pore CFRP carbon on the centre console, door handle and dashboard inlay while the iDrive controller and gear selection lever in ceramic finish.

 

To aid the driver, the Head-Up Display in Sport mode features rpm readout, gear and optimum shift indicators. The main centre display is an 8.8-inch freestanding unit loaded with the latest Navigation System Professional.

 

What makes the i8 special?

The i8 is built on the BMW’s LifeDrive vehicle architecture designed for the brand’s i cars. The Life module takes the form of a passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) while the aluminium Drive module brings together powertrain, high-voltage battery, suspension, crash system and structural functions.

Also recently announced, the i8’s drive system won its fourth consecutive win for the International Engine of the Year Award since 2015.

 

What about power?

The i8’s drivetrain is a hybrid mixture of electric motor at the front and combustion engine at the rear, with each power unit driving the front and back respectively. What is improved now is the increased cell capacity of the high-voltage battery at 33 Ah compared to 20 Ah on the previous. Here the electric motor output has been increased over 10 fold to 105 kW from 9 kW with a 143 hp of power. Electric range is now 55 km with more priority focused on electric driving as a whole. This system is linked to a two-speed automatic gearbox, while the combustion unit is driven through a six-speed Steptronic transmission.

 

Together with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder combustion engine with an output of 231 hp and 320 Nm of torque, the combined hybrid system now generates 374 hp in total and achieves the century acceleration in 4.4-seconds.

 

Does the i8 have the similar driving modes as the other iPerformance cars?

Yes but it is uniquely extended beyond the ones available in the brand’s standard cars. In the i8, there are five driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro through Hybrid Drive, and Comfort and Eco Pro through eDrive.

In eDrive Eco Pro mode, power is provided from the electric motor alone up to a speed of 120 km/h. In Hybrid mode, both motor and engine comes together, with the motor able to recuperate energy on the overrun or under braking. Regardless of drive mode, the system is able to generate or convert energy into the battery.

 

When the i8’s navigation system is used, the system will analyse the route for the best use of the electric motor most efficiently.

 

Can you stay connected to the i8 via mobile?

Yes! Through the i Remote App, owners can access the current charge status, range, as well as remote functions of door lock, unlock, light flash and horn blow. The similar Connected app can help the driver search for charging stations and access the efficiency rating of the last trip and CO2 calculator.

 

What about safety?

As standard, Cruise Control with Brake function, Driving Assistant with Surround View including Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking, Park Distance Control with front and rear sensors.

The range of safety includes ABS, Cornering Brake Control, DSC, DTC and airbags that include windows, head and side. There is also Isofix attachments at the rear for child seats.

 

Ownership?

Exterior colours are a Crystal White with a Frozen Grey highlight, BMW individual Donington Grey paired to either Black Amido or Accaro interior respectively. The price for the i8 Coupé is RM 1,310,800 on the road without insurance and zero GST.

 

TL;DR

 

Looking to get a plug-in hybrid car? Click here to find out why BMW's range of iPerformance vehicles might be a great one to start with.

Checked out the new Mini hatch yet? If you haven't, you gotta see the tail lamps!

 

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