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?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 2019 first drive review - hero front
    15 November 2019
    First Drive
    DS 7 Crossback gains a new flagship plug-in hybrid four-wheel-drive powertrain
  • Mazda 3 2019 road test review - hero front
    15 November 2019
    Car review
    The Japanese firm puts its new-age petrol engine in the fourth-gen family...
  • Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro
    14 November 2019
    First Drive
    Mercedes-AMG’s V8 sports car gets a hardcore chassis makeover but remains...

 

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • DS 7 Crossback E-Tense 2019 first drive review - hero front
    15 November 2019
    First Drive
    DS 7 Crossback gains a new flagship plug-in hybrid four-wheel-drive powertrain
  • Mazda 3 2019 road test review - hero front
    15 November 2019
    Car review
    The Japanese firm puts its new-age petrol engine in the fourth-gen family...
  • Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro
    14 November 2019
    First Drive
    Mercedes-AMG’s V8 sports car gets a hardcore chassis makeover but remains...