The BMW i8 Spyder concept will enter production, BMW sources have told Autocar
23 April 2012

This open-top BMW i8 Spyder concept will be turned into a production variant of the petrol-electric hybrid supercar in 2015, BMW sources have told Autocar.

The i8 Spyder is the third pre-production version of the revolutionary 90mpg-plus, 155mph supercar. It’s received its first public airing at the Beijing motor show today.

READ MORE ON THE BMW i8 SPYDER BEING CONFIRMED FOR PRUDUCTION IN MARCH 2016 HERE

This concept is said to give extra clues to the production coupé, which is due to go on sale in late 2014. Of note are the solid doors, which replace the transparent sides of the previous concepts.

There are other subtle differences from the two previous concepts. The kidney grille is blanked off to cut aerodynamic drag and the ‘layered surfacing’ styling treatment has evolved slightly.

With its open-roof design, the i8 Spyder has a new, free-standing windscreen and conventional door glazing that integrates with fixed rear three-quarter side panels.

To provide roll-over protection and boost chassis stiffness, there are prominent safety hoops, faired-in by body panels, at the rear of the cabin.

Although this concept leaves the design of the roof unclear, BMW insiders suggest that a removable panel, probably fashioned from carbonfibre, is the favoured solution.

The rear end has also been modified, with a flat, transparent engine cover in place of the sloping coupé roofline. It doubles as the luggage cover, over a wide but shallow stowage space.

As with all future BMW ‘i’ sub-brand models, the Spyder is based around a lightweight carbonfibre-reinforced plastic structure clothed in body panels of the same material. It is 4480mm long, 1922mm wide and 1208mm tall. That makes it 130mm shorter, 142mm wider and 187mm lower than a 335i cabriolet.

The snug 2+2 layout of the i8 coupé has been ditched for a pure two-seat cabin, with the rear bulkhead moved forward to provide added space for the engine. With a 2650mm wheelbase, accommodation is described as “generous”.

The i8 Spyder has the same plug-in petrol-electric hybrid system used by the i8 coupé. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine is mid/rear-mounted and delivers up to 220bhp to the rear wheels. The same engine will be offered in future Minis and a new front-wheel-drive entry-level BMW.

In the i8 Spyder, the 1.5-litre petrol engine is mated to a front-mounted 129bhp electric motor driving the front wheels via a fixed-ratio gearbox.

The i8 powertrain can operate on petrol or electric power, or a combination of the two and in either front, rear or four-wheel drive. A range-extender function recharges the battery on the move.

Gallery: BMW i8 Spyder concept

Together the petrol and electric motors make 349bhp and 405lb ft of torque.Computer simulationssuggest the 1630kg i8 Spyder’s 0-62mph will be 5.0sec, with 50-75mph in 4.0sec. Top speed limited at 155mph.

BMW is holding firm to claims that a combined 94mpg is possible, together with an all-electric range of up to 19 miles.

With the lithium ion battery sited within the centre tunnel and the petrol tank behind the rear bulkhead, BMW is claiming 50:50 weight distribution.

Technical details of the battery remain secret, although BMW reports a 1hr 45min recharge using a high-voltage supply. A recuperation system is also included to collect kinetic energy produced under braking and on a trailing throttle.

Pricing is likely to be in the region of £80,000.

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Comments
27

1 April 2012

First truly space age BMW for the 21st century. I hope it is as inspiring to drive as it is astonishing to look at.

1 April 2012

[quote Los Angeles]

First truly space age BMW for the 21st century. I hope it is as inspiring to drive as it is astonishing to look at.

[/quote] Funny isn't it, subjectivity? I was just thinking how underwhelmed I m by the way this looks, compared to the coupe. Totally agree on the tech, though........

1 April 2012

[quote curious_insider]Funny isn't it, subjectivity[/quote]

Hi Curious.

I didn't say I found it beautiful.

The new breed of sports cars are settling on a fairly complicated design vocabulary in an attempt to appear avante-garde, and stand out from the crowd. That they certainly do.

Difficult to tell at this distance of familiarity if that will be an accepted look or a transition. I share your curiousity and caution.

1 April 2012

Good to see BMW making this sort of headway! However, if BMW can design cars that look this compelling, what on earth went wrong with the 1-Series?! E

1 April 2012

Engelbert,

I know you're not the same singing our song at the Eurovision Contest but ... a sports car giving 99 mpg announced April 1st ... late on a Saturday night -

True or false?

1 April 2012

Who needs a Prius!

Myk

1 April 2012

[quote theadamh1234]Who needs a Prius![/quote] Possibly people without 80k to blow on a hybrid. Also, anyone with a family. Apart from that, the Prius is now obsolete :)

DKW

1 April 2012

[quote Autocar]BMW is holding firm to claims that a combined 94mpg is possible[/quote] BMW don't tend to make daft claims, but I'm struggling to accept that.

1 April 2012

[quote Autocar]This open-top BMW i8 Spyder concept will be turned into a production variant of the petrol-electric hybrid supercar in 2015, BMW sources have told Autocar.

The i8 Spyder is the third pre-production version of the revolutionary 90mpg-plus, 155mph supercar. It’s set for its first public airing at the Beijing motor show later this month.

Read the full article[/quote] More realistic than 918 Porsche?

Peter Cavellini.

1 April 2012

[quote Los Angeles]First truly space age BMW for the 21st century. I hope it is as inspiring to drive as it is astonishing to look at.[/quote] I agree. It certainly puts Porsche's 918 Spyder into perspective i.e. a late '90s Boxster with a battery pack bolted on. Splendid work from the boys and girls at BMW.

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