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The BMW-i brand is here.

The Bavarian automaker has introduced the new 'green' sub-brand ahead of its Frankfurt motor show debut in September.

First up is the BMW i3 Concept - the first series-production all-electric vehicle by the brand. Based on the previous Mega City Vehicle concept, this new urban cruiser comes with an electric motor mounted on the rear axle which produces an output of 125 kW/170 hp and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque.

The i3 accelerates from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds and reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in around eight seconds.

On the other end of the spectrum comes the i8 Concept, a plug-in hybrid sports car with serious frugal instincts. It features the same electric motor as in the i3, but this time mounted at the front axle, coupled with a 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine turbocharged to deliver a power quotient of 164 kW/220 PS and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) of torque which drives the rear wheels.

Top speed on the i8 is electronically-limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). It can travel up to 35 km (20 miles) on electric power alone and fuel-economy comes in at under 3 liter/100 km (94 mpg imp.)

Distinguishing the BMW-i brand is the new construction principles at work on the i3 and i8 Concept models. BMW calls it LifeDrive and it is comprised of two modules. On the i3, the Drive module makes up the power train, vehicle suspension, and battery and contains it in an aluminum structure which provides the crash protection too. The Life module makes up the passenger cell and body paneling and makes use of high-strength and lightweight CFRP - carbon-fiber reinforced plastic.

The i8 features another LifeDrive construction where the front and rear axles, battery and passenger cell comprise the Drive unit of the car while the rest makes up the Life module with heavy use of CFRP.

See the press release below for full details.

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