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      12-27-2011, 03:49 AM   #1
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Exclamation First Spyshots of BMW i8 Production Prototype!

First Spyshots of BMW i8 Production Prototype!
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We bring you the first spy photos of the BMW i8 production prototype model. Seen for the first time, this pre-production BMW i8 mule shows what the i8 will look like with production body parts and styling.

Comparison to i8 Concept Model and Analysis:

Although this pre-production i8 tracks the concept version's styling generally, as expected, there are some significant changes from the i8 concept model [official info/pics]. The front fascia has lost a bit of its shark nose front slant with a new lower front bumper design, which protrudes more than that on the concept. Also, the headlights have been moved forward to the edge of the hood. This comes as no surprise considering the fact that the extremely deeply set headlights on the concept i8 would likely limit the area which the headlights can illuminate. The headlights will join the kidney grilles at the sides, just as seen on the F30 3 series.

The hood and windshield are now more traditional and the windshield no longer joins the hood area as it did in the concept version. The doors now appear bigger, come down lower, and are no longer set deeper in than the rest of the car's side body panels. This should allow for much easier ingress/egress than the concept, which, because of its small door opening and thick doorsill, appeared very difficult to climb in and out of. The side view mirrors move from the concept's A-pillar to a traditional location on the doors and the door handles have moved down as well. The i8's gullwing doors have been confirmed in the spy video below. The rest of the body sculpting on the lower sides of the car thankfully remain very similar to the concept i8.

The rear of the pre-production i8 sees the retention of the concept's shoulder wings and floating tail lights, but the lower part of the rear end is difficult to discern currently as it remains clad in very concealing camouflage. There appears to be several purposely placed camouflage panels to purposely deceive - for example, the two protuding bulbous round lights (which will certainly not be a part of the production car).

The pre-production i8 ditches the futuristic wheels of the concept models in favor of more traditional split-spoke alloy wheels, which appear to be wrapped in much thicker tires than those on the concept models.

A sharkfin atenna is attached to what is likely a carbon fiber roof.

Not much of the interior can be discerned from these photos.

Powertrain and Sales Target:

The concept i8 specs should give a great idea of what to expect for the production i8 model. The concept i8 features a high performance 3-cylinder petrol engine (164 kW) in rear with i3's electric motor (limited to 96 kW) in front, resulting in total torque of 550 Nm (300Nm petrol engine + 250 Nm electric motor).

Here are the concept i8's previously released vitals (subject to change in the production model, of course):
  • 3-cylinder petrol engine (164kw) in rear with i3's electric motor (limited to 96 kW) in front
  • 550 Nm (300Nm petrol engine + 250 Nm electric motor)
  • 3 driving modes - electric, petrol, or both engines at once
  • 1,480 kg
  • 0-100kph (62mph): 4.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 250kph (limited)
  • 2.7 L/100km fuel economy
  • 35km pure electric range
  • 4 seater
  • 50:50 distribution
  • Market Launch: 2014

Sales and price targets for the i8 are yet undetermined, although it is known that the production i8 will launch in 2014. According to Ian Robertson, BMW’s global sales and marketing boss, "Our sales will strongly depend on legislation. Not only by big markets like the U.S. or China, but by local city authorities and their terms of taxation," Robertson said. "If a city like Amsterdam or London decides that you get a tax reduction, then sales will boost."

The Vision Efficient Dynamics concept made its big screen debut recently in the Hollywood blockbuster Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol on the big screen.

BMW i8 Showing Gullwing/Butterfly Door Mechanism

Here is the best look yet at the gullwing / butterfly doors which will be featured on the production BMW i8 when it hits the market in 2014. The doors appear to open in the same fashion as did the BMW i8 concept.

Judging by photos, it's apparent that the doors will not be constructed from glass, as in the concept i8. According to Scott26, the door skins are made of CFRP, but BMW is working on applying type of film over the CFRP which can be unpainted - giving the door a smooth glass-like finish and bringing the look of the i8 concept's glass doors without actually using glass (which are impractical for many obvious reasons).

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First BMW i8 Spy Video - 2/8/12

Here is the very first spy video of the 2014 BMW i8 production prototype, giving us the first live motion look and listen at the upcoming i8 hybrid sports car. Also confirmed in the video is the retaining of the gullwing doors as seen on the concept i8 car.

The prototype's sound is extremely rough at this point, but will surely be refined and tuned over the next two years of development.

Updated BMW i8 Spy Photos 2/7/12

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Pre-production BMW i8

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Concept BMW i8 (for comparison)