Images have surfaced online of the BMW i8 sports car in its production specification ahead of its debut at next week's Frankfurt motor show. The pictures show the i8 will feature dihedral doors, similar to those fitted to the McLaren 12C.
A second image reveals the sport car's interior for the first time. An electric speedometer and three-spoke steering wheel give it futuristic credentials, although much of the interior is lifted from the current BMW range.
The styling of the production version of the i8 differs considerably from the two previous concept versions, but it retains the same overall silhouette and the same unusual ‘fins’ in front of the wheels — which help steer the airflow over the wheels to reduce drag.
At the rear, it also retains the separate wheel housings, which stand away from the rear bodywork. Airflow is channelled behind the wheels and under the large tailgate spoilers. The centre tunnel of the i8 is made from aluminium, as are most of the front and rear suspension components. The whole of the body shell - dubbed the ‘Life Module’ by BMW - will be made from carbonfibre, itself manufactured by CO2-free hydropower in Washington State.
Unusual aerodynamic flourishes aside, the i8 not only has the look of a scaled-down Audi R8 but should have supercar performance to match. In its showroom guise, the i8’s rear wheels will be powered by BMW’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which will be good for 215bhp and 220lb ft. The car’s front wheels are driven by a 128bhp electric motor.
With both engines - and both axles - being driven, there’s 348bhp on tap and a substantial 406lb ft amount of torque. Early estimates suggest the i8 will hit 60mph in just 4.6 seconds. In pure-electric, front-drive mode the i8 is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. With a potential range of about 22 miles, it is placed along the centre tunnel of the car.
BMW's 'i' range will initially comprise two cars; arriving earlier than the i8, the i3 city car is battery powered and likely to cost around £35,000. The i8's price will be nearer £100,000.