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HomeFUTURE PERFECTEV NEWS: THE LATEST BUZZ ON BMW i

EV NEWS: THE LATEST BUZZ ON BMW i

ALL-NEW BMW I8 ROADSTER & COUPÉ

The BMW i8 has been the poster child for the sports car of the future since it was launched 2014. With its futuristic design, this 2+2-seater has been a real object of desire and a technological pioneer, making it the world’s highest-selling hybrid sports car. Recently released in South Africa, the dashing new BMW i8 Roadster and Coupé take the allure of sustainable driving pleasure and sports car performance to a new dimension.

The new BMW i8 is powered by a drive duo in the form of a hybrid synchronous electric motor and a three-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine’s power is channelled to the rear wheels through a six-speed Steptronic transmission, while the electric motor propels the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. The result is an all-wheel-drive system that glues the car to the road.

The gross energy capacity of the lithium-ion battery has been increased from 7.1 to 11.6-kilowatt-hours (kWh), which increases the electric motor’s peak output by 9 kW to 105 kW. With maximum torque of 250 Nm from rest, the BMW i8 delivers razor-sharp responses to the slightest movement of the accelerator and exceptionally smooth acceleration in electric mode. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 105 km/h purely on the electric motor’s power, the BMW i8 allows for a zero-emissions drive not just in town, but on country roads as well. And, at the push of the eDrive button, the all-electric threshold is increased further to 120 km/h. The new battery also benefits the electric range of the two plug-in hybrid sports cars, with the i8 Coupé capable of up to 55 km on electric power only, and the i8 Roadster up to 53 km.

The turbocharged three-cylinder engine delivers a maximum output of 170 kW from its displacement of just 1.5-litres, plus peak torque of 320 Nm. The engine is pleasantly refined and generates a distinctive and sonorous soundtrack that now has an even sportier note when its power reserves are called upon.

The system output produced by the electric motor and engine acting in unison has increased to 275 kW, and with a total of 570 Nm of torque on hand, the new BMW i8 Coupé accelerates from nought to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, while the new BMW i8 Roadster takes a tick longer with a time of 4.6 seconds. Both models have an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

BMW i

Both the Coupé and Roadster return fuel consumption and emissions figures that undercut those for conventionally powered sports cars with similar outputs by around 50%.

The new BMW i8 Roadster comes with an all-season fabric soft-top with additional soundproofing, and can be opened or closed in an almost silent hush, within 15 seconds and while travelling at up to 50 km/h, if required.

Groundbreaking lightweight construction, sleek aerodynamics and avant-garde design, combined with BMWs latest technological features, make the BMW i8 an instant classic as it continues its trailblazing leap towards a sustainable future.

PRICING
BMW i8 Coupé: R 2,095,200
BMW i8 Roadster: R 2,329,300

BMW I3: EVERYDAY URBANITE

BMW

Available in 50 countries and with global sales of more than 100,000 units since its inception in 2013, the BMW i3 has reigned supreme as the top-selling small luxury electric car in the world. The new BMW i3, now available in South Africa, has been enhanced by a number of deft design touches and complemented by BMWs latest equipment features and new digital services, all of which clearly distinguishes this as a vehicle on the cutting edge of automotive development.

The two new BMW i3 model variants are identified as BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) and REX (Range Extender), with both of them powered by a 33-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery. For the sake of extending the battery range, the REX variant is fitted with a 28 kW two-cylinder range extender petrol engine that drives a generator to maintain a constant level of charge in the battery.

Coupled to a single-speed automatic transmission, the synchronous electric motor generates a maximum output of 125 kW and peak torque of 250 Nm available instantly from a standstill. This defining feature of the electrical propulsion system gives new meaning to “pure driving pleasure” as the new BMW i3 delivers excellent, drama free and extremely smooth acceleration from any speed. Zero to 100 km/h is achieved in 7.3 seconds for the BEV, and 8.1 seconds for the slightly heavier REX. Top speed is limited to 150 km/h.

Located low in the vehicle floor, the battery provides a real-world range of about 180 km. On our test drive in the BEV – which necessitated some spirited driving – we could manage only 150 km on our extra-urban excursion, which is significantly less than the 300 km range claim based on the notoriously optimistic New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), or the 255 km range as per the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). However, if used in urban conditions, the BMW i3 BEV offers more than sufficient range, and to combat any hint of range anxiety there is the option of the REX, which extends the i3’s overall range in everyday use by up to 150 km, increasing it from around 180 km to a maximum of 330 km. The new BMW i3 REX boasts a combined consumption figure of just 0.6-litres of fuel per 100 km.

BMW i

Charging at home is exceptionally user-friendly thanks to the BMW i Wallbox, which can supply 11 kW of power to charge the battery to 80% in under three hours – five times quicker than with the standard charging cable plugged into a 240V outlet. “DC fast charging” from a public fast charger station can recharge the BMW i3 battery up to 80% in as little as 20 minutes.

The new BMW i3 is nothing less than a premium all-electric car that delivers the same sporty and stirring driving experience that has become synonymous with BMW. With a whole new level of connectivity technology, advanced driver assistance and overall safety, underpinned by the peace of mind that comes with zero-emissions driving, the new BMW i3 represents the future of urban mobility.

PRICING
BMW i3 BEV: R 637,300
BMW i3 REX: R 717,100

Report by WILHELM LOOTS | Images © BMW SOUTH AFRICA

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