BMW i8 Concept Spyder

Under the banner of its sub-brand BMW i, the BMW Group is developing a range of purpose-built vehicle concepts and complementary mobility services which meet the changing needs of customers and redefine the understanding of personal mobility. As well as adopting intelligent technologies and innovative design, BMW i is pursuing an all-embracing approach defined to a significant degree by sustainability throughout the value chain.

Following the presentation of the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept, the BMW Group introduces the BMW i8 Concept Spyder to the mix. This third BMW i model embodies the future of cutting-edge and emotionally appealing mobility concepts. Its sporting design headlines the qualities of an open-top two-seater blending lightness, dynamic capability and efficiency with a very special aesthetic allure.
The combination of intelligent lightweight design and state-of-the-art hybrid technology imbues the BMW i8 Concept Spyder with genuine sports car performance, yet its fuel consumption is no higher than you would expect from a small car.

Among the most eye-catching features of the BMW i8 Concept Spyder are the upward-swiveling, windowless doors and a range of purpose-oriented on-board equipment including electric kickboards stowed under a transparent tailgate. The sports car is based around the innovative LifeDrive architecture, itself underpinned by a lightweight modular construction and the use of high-quality high-tech materials. The BMW i8 Concept Spyder is a plug-in hybrid powered by an eDrive drivetrain combining a high-performance electric motor and petrol combustion engine. The lithium-ion battery supplying the motor with power can be recharged in an extremely short space of time from any domestic power socket. Together, the car’s minimised weight, low centre of gravity and finely judged balance, coupled with a combined system output of up to 260 kW (354 hp), promise unbeatable dynamic capability, exceptional efficiency and unbridled driving pleasure.

Barely a year after the unveiling of the 2+2-seater BMW i8 Concept, BMW i is presenting the second variant of this innovative hybrid sports car, a machine designed to light up the path to compelling and purpose-oriented mobility. Like its Coupe sibling, the emotionally charged BMW i8 Concept Spyder combines intelligent lightweight design with the leading-edge drivetrain technology eDrive, while its open-top two-seater construction delivers an even more intense driving experience. This is a car in which outstanding performance potential goes hand-in-hand with extremely low fuel consumption and emissions.

Compared with the Coupe variant of the BMW i8 Concept, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length. With its compact dimensions and distinctive exterior paintwork, the sports car exudes a feeling of dynamism before it so much as turns a wheel, while striking features of its design include upward-swiveling, windowless doors and a transparent glass panel at the rear. Underneath this cover two electric kickboards are stowed, providing a visual showcase for the fun factor in mobility and adding another layer to the car’s recreational appeal. Inside, a revised material and color concept provides an extra dose of sportiness. Like the Coupe, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder with eDrive is a high-performance plug-in hybrid, and it fuses the specific advantages of an electric motor and combustion engine to optimum effect. Exceptional efficiency and dynamic capability are the upshot.

Like the Coupe, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder is also built around the innovative LifeDrive architecture, a fusion of independent functional units. For example, the carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) Life module gives the car an extremely lightweight passenger cell, while the Drive modules – made primarily from aluminium components – bring together all the car’s operational driving functions, such as the powertrain, chassis and safety structure. Impressively extensive use of high-tech materials allows this innovative concept to chart new territory in terms of weight minimisation, structural rigidity and crash safety. This is good news not only for the car’s dynamic performance, but also for its range and fuel economy. Intelligent lightweight design, encompassing the use of innovative materials, has allowed the unavoidable additional weight of the high-output hybrid drivetrain to be cancelled out in full. Plus, the LifeDrive architecture has been carefully adapted to the sports car character of the BMW i8 Concept Spyder. The front and rear axle modules are connected by an “energy tunnel”, which houses the hybrid battery. This allows the engineers to give the car a low centre of gravity and ideal balance.

The distinctive two-way split of the LifeDrive concept is also reflected in the car’s design, which renders the basic elements of the body clearly distinguishable. Expressive surfaces and precise lines create a harmonious transition from one module into another. This overlap and interlocking of surfaces and lines – “layering” in BMW i speak – is displayed both on the body and in the interior of the new car.

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder’s emotion-led design vividly spotlights the car’s qualities, with lightness, dynamic capability and efficiency highlighted to particularly prominent effect. For example, the two-seater embodies the perfect synthesis of technology and aesthetic appeal, and exudes unbridled driving pleasure even when stationary. Key to creating this impression of sporty dynamics are large body panels, a hunkered-down stance and numerous aerodynamic elements such as contact surfaces, spoiler lips, AirCurtains and aeroflaps. These features substantially reduce the hybrid car’s Cd and enhance both efficiency and range.

The front end offers a particularly revealing window into the open-top two- seater’s dynamic talent. One defining element is the headlights with pioneering laser light technology, which follow the hallmark BMW i U-shaped design template. A semi-transparent “V” opens out from the front end of the flat bonnet towards the windscreen and beckons the eye to the electric motor below. A spoiler lip positioned on the windscreen frame guides the airflow over the heads of the passengers. And for journeys when the weather cannot quite be trusted, the planned two-section folding roof might well come in handy.

Short front and rear overhangs and a low-slung silhouette define the side view of the BMW i8 Concept Spyder and underline its athletic character. Alluring lines and forms generate a strong forward-surging stance even before the car powers off the line. The doors, which open by pivoting forwards around the A-pillar axis, further enhance the BMW i8 Concept Spyder’s emotional impact. Below the doors, the side skirts create a powerful wedge shape which opens out towards the rear. At the same time, the open-top two-seater cuts a light and flowing figure and appears as if carved from a single mould.

Like the front end, the rear also sits low to the road. Its headline feature is a transparent cover revealing the two folded electric kickboards accommodated below. Adopting the hallmarks of BMW i design, the kickboards are perfect for relaxed cruising along promenades and paths or around city squares. There can be few more attractive advertisements for individual mobility. A visually imposing rear diffuser, three-dimensional air outlets and the U-shaped rear lights give the BMW i8 Concept Spyder an extremely wide appearance and emphasize its sporting credentials.

The 96 kW (131 hp) electric motor on the front axle works in tandem with a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine sending 164 kW (223 hp) through the rear wheels. Both units are in-house BMW Group developments and generate an aggregate system output of 260 kW (354 hp) and peak torque of 550 Newton metres. That is enough to accelerate the BMW i8 Concept Spyder from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in five seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Despite this performance, the two-seater burns just three litres of petrol per 100 kilometres (equivalent to fuel economy of 94 mpg imp) in the European test cycle.

The electric motor sources its energy from a lithium-ion battery which can be fully charged from a domestic power socket in less than two hours. The high-output battery is located in the energy tunnel between the front and rear axle modules in order to keep the car’s centre of gravity as low as possible – and therefore to maximise the car’s dynamic performance. The space-saving and well-balanced packaging of this and other drive and chassis components gives the sporting two-seater ideal 50:50 weight distribution.

With its battery fully charged, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder can cover up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) on electric power alone. As such, far from filling in as a bit-part player, the electric motor plays a role equal to that of the petrol engine. If required, a high-voltage alternator hooked up to the combustion engine generates extra power, which is then stored in the hybrid battery. This range-extending function during the course of a journey allows the two-seater to travel further between charging stations.

Two large displays inside the BMW i8 Concept Spyder make up the interface between the car, its passengers and the outside world. Positioned alongside the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, the central information display flags up all relevant information and assists the driver in the use of connectivity applications. A third display shows the automatic climate control settings currently engaged. All the screens display their information in 3D, and the cutting-edge, visually appealing graphics are also impressively clear.

The central information display in the BMW i8 Concept Spyder makes a key contribution to intelligent mobility. It allows the driver to view the current status of the hybrid system, provides a platform for menu navigation and route guidance, and uses innovative connectivity functions to offer drivers a gateway into their lives outside the car. This ensures drivers remain up to speed at all times on how the combustion engine and electric motor are being used, while also being able to monitor the energy flow within the system.

Source: BMW press

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