BMW head of research and design Klaus Froehlich is pushing the i sub-brand in a different direction, embracing autonomous vehicles alongside EVs.
Autobild puts some numbers to the BMW i5, which it says will be based on the long-wheelbase 5 Series sold in China and have around 640 horsepower coming from a four-cylinder ICE and two electric motors. It's not a straight-up Tesla fighter, but it will stress electric power over ICE.
To the casual observer, there's a sort of schism in the world of fuel sipping. The Japanese, Koreans and Americans have embraced electrification by way of hybrid powertrains, while our German friends lean towards diesel technology. BMW is actively pushing to change that impression, as it's announced that it will take a break from niche-busting MPVs and lifted, four-door coupes to produce plug-in hybrid versions of some of its "core-brand" models.
The BMW i8 recently won the Autoblog Technology of the Year award, and it's going to get even better. In October, Automobile magazine reported that BMW's i brand is working on an i8S that would be stiffer and more powerful, and celebrate the marque's centenary in 2016. At the time, one of two power unit combinations was suggested, either one of them good for more than 500 horsepower.
While BMW makes plenty of machinery to keep enthusiasts interested, its most enticing models are often based on more ordinary ones. That's what made the arrival of the i8 so captivating, emerging as the first stand-alone BMW sports coupe since the M1. But if its dual purpose – trying its best to both embrace the earth and traverse it rapidly – somehow left you disappointed, the next development could prove to fix that.
On the prospect of a new BMW M1 based on the company's new i8 hybrid, the jury has been in and out so much that we can't even tell which way it's likely to go. However, the latest reports coming in from Germany suggest that BMW may have something else up its sleeves. Rather than make a conventional gas-powered version of the i8, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport says BMW will make a more powerful one.
The 2015 BMW i8 is the second model in the Bavarian automaker's eco-friendly i-branded lineup. The i8's plug-in hybrid powertrain combines a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with a 96-kilowatt electric motor to make 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Together, this gas-electric mechanical duo is capable of propelling the groundbreaking carbon-fiber sports coupe from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds.
At this point, there isn't much we don't know about the 2015 BMW i8, so BMW is starting to focus its attention on reassuring consumers that the future of BMW won't abandon the past. In these two recently released videos, BMW answers questions prospective buyers might have about about the new model's design and performance.
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