BMW’s new era of sports cars will commence in June when the $135,700 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid goes on sale.
The launch date was announced with minimal fanfare on the BMW USA website, and while examples of the 362hp carbon fiber car will touch down in BMW dealerships, they won’t stay for long as every one is allegedly already spoken for.
Production volumes will be modest for 2014, with around 300 out of a total 1,900 i8s reaching the US in 2014, according to BMW Blog, although that should rise to several thousand during 2015.
While the newly released i3 hatch is the vanguard of the environmental BMW i sub-brand, it’s the rakish i8 that is more emblematic of what BMW is trying to achieve – namely a desirable balance of performance and sustainability.
The plug-in hybrid drivetrain allows the i8 to travel up to 22 miles on electricity alone, yet an efficient but powerful gasoline engine means overall range is more than 300 miles. When both its engine and electric motor work together the i8 becomes an all-wheel drive sports car capable of 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds. The BMW i8 is also the first series production car to feature laser headlamps.
BMW has invested heavily in the production of its new i cars, and the carbon fiber that makes up both the i3 and i8 is wrought using hydroelectric power before the cars themselves are assembled using wind power alone in Leipzig.