When BMW entered the electric vehicle market this past July with the announcement of its all-electric i3, many wondered what a manufacturer historically known for precision, power and performance was doing entering the compact EV market. The i3 was just the tip of the iceberg of its coming iSeries vehicles, which utilizes the bundle of safety and efficiency technologies known as “LifeDrive architecture” that BMW developed in-house.
The car maker debuted the i8 hybrid (picutred above) earlier this month at the Frankfurt Auto Show. A sports car through and through, the i8 boasts body styling and AWD (all wheel drive) performance specs that comfortably situate it in the high-performance class, but it’s also equipped with an all-electric mode perfect for zero-emission daily commutes (max range of 22 miles). In normal conditions, the i8 uses a hybrid system with an electric motor driving the front wheels and a 1.5 Liter Turbocharged combustion engine driving the rear wheels (that can get up to 94 mpg).
The i3 (pictured above) is geared for urban drivers, looking for high efficiency and the ability to squeeze in small parking spots. The i8 appeals to buyers also looking for low emissions for everyday driving, but still with the performance (and range) to get out of town for an enjoyable Sunday drive through windy country roads.
Both the i3 (starting at $41,350) and i8 (starting at $135,700) will be available at BMW dealerships in the US in the second quarter of 2014.