In describing its new lightweight, hybrid supercar the 2014 BMW i8, the German luxury car marque is using the tagline "The Most Progressive Sports Car". Coming from a company best known for beefy, turbocharged six, eight and 10-cylinder engines these days, a three-cylinder-powered supercar seems like a bit of a stretch. But just like the San Francisco 49ers play to win games, BMW builds cars to win customers—in addition to awards and accolades.
By combining a sophisticated turbocharged and direct-injected three-cylinder engine combined with multiple electric motors for all-wheel drive and a total system output of 362 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. Thanks to the car's low curb weight, 0 to 60 mph will come in right around 4.4 seconds, or the same as a BMW M3. Read that again, and you’ll begin to realize why the i8 is so groundbreaking.
Then there's fuel efficiency: not only will the i8 have the ability to run for around 22 miles on electric power alone, but the car is expected to earn an EPA rating of right around 90 MPGe, putting it near your typical range-extending hybrid or electric economy car despite its world-class performance.
With extensive use of carbon fiber in its body and single-piece passenger compartment, the i8 will be as luxurious as it is sporty. Expect the full complement of BMW's top features, echoing the 8-Series of old as a grand tourer that just happens to be quite competent indeed when things get twisty.
The one thing the car will not get is a true manual transmission, though the integrated DSG will handle shifting duties nicely.
Expect the i8 in dealerships in the latter half of 2014, priced from around $130,000. And we can't wait to get behind the wheel.