By Jonathan Lopez - Top Speed
BMW is updating it’s plug-in electric hybrid sports car, the i8, with additional standard equipment for the Geneva Motor Show, set to kick off in March. There will be new options for interior styling, and inclusion of the Pure Impulse Experience program, which, according to a press release, comprises “exclusive lifestyle options in the areas of culture, design, travel and gastronomy in keeping with the progressive and sustainable ‘next premium’ approach of the BMW i brand.”
Basically, that means members get benefits like a membership to Club magazine, invitations to attend special events, tips on finding new eco-resorts, and opportunities to dine in some of the top restaurants.
The update coincides with additional international services now available to i3and i8 customers. Dubbed the 360° ELECTRIC program, i owners may now participate in things like ChargeNow, an expanding charging and payment service with fast-charge stations supporting international roaming. Or there’s ParkNow, the web- and app-based service to help drivers find parking spaces in hundreds of cities across North America, filtering through search results by price, distance, and availability of charging services and car washes. There’s also DriveNow, which arranges car-sharing options among 390,000 registered users in the U.S. and Europe. Finally, BMW is taking on a “second-life” project in the U.S., Germany, and China, whereby lithium-ion batteries that have passed their roadworthiness life cycles are recycled as stationary energy-storage devices.
It’s nice to see the i8 get a little love. I really would have liked to see something like a new performance package with an “overboost” button that dumps all the available electric power into the drive wheels, but oh well.
BMW is clearly trying to keep the fire lit when it comes to interest in the i8, a car that amazed critics last year, (TopSpeed included). With the i3 now rolling along nicely, and lots of predictions being thrown around about BMW’s electric future, the i8 will need to bear the torch for Munich’s EV hopes. Will the i8 seem outdated one day? BMW will certainly do its best to make sure such a scenario does not come to pass.
Taking fourth in the Top Speed Performance Car of the Year,
the i8 had everybody floored when it was first unveiled. Taking cues from BMW’s other spacey super car, the
the i8 looks like it would be at home flitting between asteroids or searching for a parking spot on the moon. While the iconic BMW kidney grille is obvious in the front, the rest of the car bears a low-and-wide countenance that connotes both performance and futuristic panache.
Made from a good deal of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, the i8 still tips the scales at 3,285 pounds. However, all those pounds are perfectly distributed 50/50 front to back, thanks to an innovative drivetrain.
The i8 packs a TwinPower Turbo, 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine that delivers 231 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. Ahead of this, you’ll find a plug-in electric motor throwing down 131 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque at the front wheels. That makes for a combined output of 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, which means the AWD i8 can sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph.
While these performance specs are impressive, the fact that they are available in a car that looks this marvelous, goes 22 miles with zero emissions, and gets 95 MPG is downright astounding.