Production-Ready BMW i8 Plug-in Hybrid Caught Testing in Sweden

The BMW i8, a radically styled all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid machine, is undergoing cold-weather testing before its reveal in production form in late 2012. With the i8 frolicking in the snow, spy photographers at AutoEvolution have caught images of the near production-ready plug-in hybrid dream machine.

The styling of this version of the i8 differs considerably from the previously revealed concepts but retains the same silhouette and low-slung carbon fiber body work. The BMW i8 now most closely resembles a scaled-down Audi R8, but with some distinct design elements, including unusual fins up front and dramatic extensions above the rear wheels.

Specs have not changed, according to BMW. In showroom form, the i8’s rear wheels will be powered by BMW’s 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that cranks out 215 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque. The front wheels of the i8 are spun by a 128-horsepower electric motor. The two powerplants can drive the car together or separately to increase efficiency and respond driving conditions. Combined, peak horsepower comes in at 343 and early estimates peg the i8’s 0-60 mph time at 4.6 seconds. Most importantly, the i8 can function in electric-only mode with an estimated range of 22 miles.

BMW i8 Rear

BMW says that i8 will zip to 60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds and return an estimate 22 miles of electric-only range.

The i8 features BMW’s new LifeDrive architecture, which uses vertical layering of component systems to create a safer, more aerodynamic and more responsive ride. The car’s electric motor and gasoline engine will be built onto its front and rear axle modules, with its battery pack running down the center of the car, giving it an ideal 50-50 front-rear weight distribution and keeping its center of gravity very low to the ground.

The BMW i8 is expected to launch sometime in 2013 and some reports suggest that it will make its worldwide debut in production form at 2012 London Olympics.

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  • MrEnergyCzar

    I can’t imagine the production version looking anything like this but what a modern look. BMW should already have a plug-in out this year but missed the boat on that and gas prices are rising now…


  • wiley

    it doesn’t matter it will be priced so high that ordinary people cannot buy one

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Is it just me or is the ICE torque a misprint? I can’t imagine it only having 22 lb/ft of torque.

    I kinda like the styling. Don’t like the color of it. It’s price? Well it’ll be way out of my range.

  • MS

    For sure, this is not a spy shot, but clearly a marketing shot.

    As the fisrt image is photoshop made, the pixels say everithing. And that bumbers are impossible to go ito production, they would break even with a small touch when driving.

    BMW is still all abount marketing. Just note the new M5 and M6, were the sound system produces some engine noise to “look better” for the driver. BMW is marketing only.

  • greg45

    This is definitely such an amazing car to see. I am glad to see they are going hybrid with it. So many people will be wanting this car in the future. It has every plus its a hybrid. Great job on this. Playing YTV Games