The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar was officially unveiled in production form in North America at the November 2013 LA Auto Show.
Sporting a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminum body, the BMW i8 is sleek, lean and fast. It will be powered by a 1.5-liter, 231-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine paired with a 131-hp electric motor. The result is a net package good for 362 horsepower and a hearty 420 pound-feet of torque, which BMW says will thrust the i8 from 0-62 mph in just 4.4 seconds. Power is sent through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.
The BMW i8 is not only futuristic-looking and super fast, it also highlights many new technologies and sustainability efforts. Certain exterior trim is made from recycled materials. Interior leather is tanned with olive leaf extract (as opposed to toxic chemicals), and a rear window made from chemically hardened glass, the same used in smartphone screens.
Inside, the BMW i8 is a 2+2 configuration, with seats that sit low to the ground as in a traditional sports car. Carbon-fiber-treated plastic is visible along the door sills when the scissor-like, wing doors are open.
Trim levels echo that of the BMW i3 compact city car and sound like Transformers: Mega, Giga and Tera. Each features different interior accents, trim materials and colors options.
BMW's iDrive controller and navigation are standard. A drive mode controller lets drivers choose from Comfort, Eco Pro, Sport, and a purely electric eDrive mode. Range in all-electric mode is up to 22 miles, with a total range of 310 miles in combined driving with the gasoline engine. Using a standard 110-volt charger, the BMW i8 can fully charge in about four hours. With BMW's 220-volt fast charger, it takes about 90 minutes. You'll want one of those.
Fuel economy for the 2014 BMW i8 is an EPA-estimated 94 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), whatever that means.
The 2014 BMW i8 will start at $135,700 and is expected to arrive in dealerships in Spring 2014.