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Zero to 60: A Sustainable Sports Car?

Sep 25, 2015 11:13AM ● Published by Dia

For the first time in automobile history, swan-wing doors have emerged from a car housing a three-cylinder engine. On paper, this six-figure sports car appears to be five cylinders short—but when coupled with a high-voltage, lithium-ion bat- tery and what the manufacturer calls “efficient dynamics,” this hybrid is turning heads like no other. The BMW i8, the second model unveiled from within the BMW i brand, has it all: power, luxury and unrealistic efficiency—all wrapped up with a futuristically frozen blue ribbon.

Taking advantage of the latest BMW tech- nologies in aerodynamic and lightweight yet performance-inspired design, drivers can choose from three distinct driving modes with the sim- ple push of a button. For those who desire the sus- tainability of purely electric driving, the Comfort and Eco Pro modes do the trick and still main- tain speeds as high as 75 mph. The third, and most exhilarating Sport mode maximizes both the 11-hp electric motor and the 1.5 liter, three- cylinder combustion engine to unleash as much as 357-hp and top speeds over 150 mph. No matter the mode, the i8 always achieves a balance between dynamic performance and efficiency. Its battery can be recharged through the electric motor during deceleration or via the high-voltage starter/generator responsible for turning over the combus- tion engine.

When talking about hybrids, efficiency is where the rubber meets the road, and while traveling under engine power, the i8 is rated at a modest 28 miles per gallon. How- ever, when utilizing both electric and combustion power, the i8 scores big with an EPA efficiency rating of 76 MPGe (the distance the car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy as is contained in one gallon of gasoline).

When talking about BMWs, elegance is also a factor and this BMW is no different. Admittedly so, it is easy to get wrapped up in what makes these particular wheels turn, but the futuristic styling both inside and out can turn some serious heads. Lighted ice-blue accents across copi- ous amounts of carbon fiber and Carum grey leather help create a Tron-like atmosphere that for some will be worthy of its space-age price tag. 

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