BMW's new sub-brand features an electric city car and a hybrid super-coupé model with 349bhp
13 September 2011

BMW has shown its new i sub-brand at the Frankfurt motor show  a brand created to sell an extended range of cutting-edge, purpose-built electric, hybrid and range extender-powered models.

Called i, BMW has shown an initial two model line-up, revealed in concept guise.

The line-up consists of the compact four-seat BMW i3 conceived primarily for short-range urban use and a more sporting two-plus-two BMW i8 performance flagship that progresses the ideas first hinted at by the EfficientDynamics concept car.

Read about the BMW i3 city car and see Frankfurt show pics

Now read about the BMW i8 super-coupé and see pics from the show

Further i models - including a Chevrolet Volt-rivaling notchback expected to be badged BMW i5 - are on the drawing board, but BMW’s main focus is on developing the technically advanced i3 and i8 for a planned 2013 on sale date.

As well as providing a platform for the development of its new alternative drive models, BMW is also using its new i brand as the basis for a network of personal mobility and car sharing-based activities, including a new location-based information portal and a joint venture with German rental car giant Sixt, through which the i3 and i8 will be offered.

The four-seat BMW i3, previously known under the internal working title Megacity Vehicle, is a pure electric hatchback that will be sold with the option of a petrol range-extending engine that acts as a generator to provide it with a range similar to today’s small cars.

The BMW i8, which gets a snug two-plus-two interior layout, comes with petrol-electric hybrid drive. The i3 and i8 will be assembled on a dedicated line at BMW’s Leipzig manufacturing base in Germany – the same site responsible for production of the 1 and 3-series as well as the X1.


Our Verdict

BMW i8
The BMW i8 joins the i3 as part of the firm's 'i' range of vehicles

Can BMW's baby hypercar blow the lid off performance convention?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales