The press calls the BMW i8 “The sports car of the future.” When the i8 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013, it was one of the most anticipated concept cars taking its form in the history of BMW. The BMW i philosophy is the start of an innovative transformation that impacts the future of the automobile industry. Let’s explore the full capacity of BMW i8’s performance, technology, energy efficiency, and safety.
The BMW i8’s chassis and its suspension system are composed of a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle design. All axels are constructed from lightweight aluminum. The weight saving construction enables precision and comfort in steering at any speed.
The multi-stage Dynamic Damper Control system integrated within the automatic transmission ensures the i8’s smooth running even at low RPM. The electronically managed dampers deliver exceptional and optimal shock absorbing controls under any driving mode. This system delivers the best operating dynamics, driving comfort, and energy efficiency.
The Dynamic Stability Control is the stability system that continuously monitors the i8’s wheel rotation, steering angle, vehicle speed, lateral acceleration, brake pressure, and yaw rate. If DSC detects oversteering, understeering or wheel spin, the system will automatically apply braking to individual wheels to restore stability.
The DSC system includes Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Brake Assist, Brake Standby, Start-Off Assistant, Fading Compensation and Brake Drying function.
The Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is a sub-function of DSC and can be activated by a single switch. DTC in the BMW i8 raises the threshold of DSC. It provides better dynamics during hard-corner turns and allows for a greater slippage when traveling on less desirable road conditions such as snow, rain or loose gravel.
As part of the chassis components, the standard 20-inch forged aluminum wheels are a special fit to the BMW i8’s aerodynamic concept. The three-piece Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) wheels engineered exclusively for the BMW i8 are optional upgrades in certain markets that permit this assemblage.
The biggest advantage of the CFRP wheels is its rigidity and weight saving property which results in an approximate 6.6-lb weight reduction in each wheel. The CFRP is also the material widely used throughout the i8’s entire structure. Its lightweight and stiff characteristics make the car agile yet sturdy.
Instrument Panel in the BMW i8 is a magnesium-structured digital display showcasing two large displays aerodynamically designed like the rest of the car. Information related to the drive, power supply, speed, and vehicle status are displayed in various formats and colors during different driving modes.
The Center Console in the i8 contains the Start/Stop button, eDrive button, Driving Experience Control Switch, iDrive Controller, and gearshift lever. All components are arranged for the convenience and comfort of the operation. Five different drive modes can be selected via the Center Console to suit a diverse range of driving styles.
The BMW Active Driving Assistance in the i8 comes with Surround View and additional safety features including the Speed Limit Info, Frontal Collision Warning, Pedestrian Protection and City Collision Mitigation.
The latest BMW Navigation System in the BMW i8 features an 8.8-inch control display, which syncs with the drivetrain controls for intelligent energy management. When the Route Guidance starts, the drivetrain management calculates the trip and ensures the best performance output with the least fuel consumption. Furthermore, Real-Time Traffic Info provides convenience when on the go.
The Map Display function with Dynamic Range Display is part of the BMW i8’s Navigation System. It utilizes a range map system (referred to as Spidergram) to indicate the sections of the journey that the car can cover with electric power only. The system also displays locations of the public charging stations for convenient battery recharging.
Ambient lighting options in the BMW i8 bring added luxury to the driving experience, and of course, double points on the cool factor. LED technology is utilized to light the BMW i8’s interior, and color schemes can be interchanged between the EfficientDynamics Blue, Amber, or White. The subtle glowing effect provides a light source to the cockpit and creates a relaxing and ethereal atmosphere.
In today’s world, every company has a social responsibility to protect the environment. The i Series represents BMW’s value and mission to build a brand that proactively preserves the environment, reduces pollution, and prevents the fast spread of urbanization.
BMW has taken home the title of “world’s most sustainable automobile manufacturer” in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for eight years in a row. That is an achievement hard to overlook.
The idea of the EfficientDynamics is an innovative technology that the BMW Group introduced a decade ago to enhance performance and efficiency of all BMW vehicles. The i8 is a model of such excellence. It perfectly delivers the dynamic drive concept, the lightweight, aerodynamic designs, as well as the energy efficiency.
The BMW i ConnectedDrive service is an extension of the BMW EfficientDynamics. Owners can create an account through the online portal www.bmw-connecteddrive.com and register for a personalized profile to access a range of online services and vehicle status of their cars.
The ConnectedDrive provides information regarding the vehicle, such as location, driving range, battery level, charging stations, helpful tips, service messages, various status alerts, concierge service, and much more.
Individualized ConnectedDrive information can be synced to your vehicle and accessed through the complimentary My BMW Remote App (US) from your smartphone. The app can perform a variety of services just like the web version, and it can remotely initiate charging of the i vehicles when connected to a charging station.
One of the safety features in the BMW i8 is the heavy utilization of Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). Its sturdy characteristic offers the necessary protections for passengers in crash tests. CFRP’s strength is comparable to steel, and it makes the vehicle perform well under side impact. The impressive CFRP Life Module absorbs forces from impact with minimal distortion.
Safety is ensured with the front airbags, side airbags, head/curtain airbags for all seats. In addition, the three-point inertia reel seatbelts with belt stoppers, belt tensioners, and belt force limiters are provided for all seats.
The battery mounted at the center of the i8’s underbody is in a position where the force of impact is statistically the least during an event of a crash. For extra safety measurements, when the passenger restraint system is triggered, the battery will disconnect from the high-voltage system, and the connected components will discharge.
The LifeDrive concept is unique to the BMW i series. It is made up of two components – the Life Module and the Drive Model. Both correlate closely to the balanced weight distribution, low center of gravity (below 18 inches) and the light construction concept of the BMW i models.
includes the aluminum body shell with a high-voltage lithium battery, power electronics, chassis, wheels, and structural as well as crash functions. Both the electric and combustion engines are respectively located in the front and back of the structure.
The Life Module in the BMW i8 includes the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) constructed, revolutionary designed, light-weight passenger cell. The architecture brings the perfect weight distribution to counter the weight of the battery and the engines.