The announcement of the all-new BMW sub-brand took the automotive industry by surprise earlier this year, but after check out the facts sounds like an interesting move to differentiate BMW’s offering in the hybrid and electric market. Our last report covered the car formerly known as the Megacity and now known as the symbol…wait that something different entirely. Getting back on track, the Megacity will be introduced to consumers sometime in 2013 as the i3. Now in a set of spy videos caught by Bimmerpost.com we get a close look at the i8 sports coupe.
If the i8 sounds familiar or in this case looks familiar, then you might remember it by the name Vision Efficient Dynamics concept. Yes, the i8 appears to be the concept car shown in 2009, except this time it looks to be headed for production. The original concept had a diesel hybrid powertrain that consisted of a 163-hp 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel engine and two electric motors. However, the i8 will scrap the diesel motor in favor of a gasoline powertrain when it goes into production along side the i3. Why no diesel? BMW R&D chief Klaus Draeger shed some light on this via an interview with Autocar recently. The answer is all around worldwide sales. According to Draeger diesel is most relevant in the EU and therefore easier to sell. In the rest of the world diesels are still looked down upon and in a lot of cases harder to get through government safety and emissions regulations. In order to make the i8 a global vehicle, BMW has opted to switch the diesel power plant for a more widely accepted gasoline one.
You can expect the i8 to become available to consumers along side the i3 some time in 2013. Until then, be sure to check out the spy videos of the i8 undergoing cold weather testing in Northern Europe.
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