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      02-24-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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Post The excitement is building... BMW i3 and BMW i8 media preview ride along review

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BMW have assembled some of the worlds media at their winter test and development centre in Sweden for an exclusive first passenger ride of the most significant, revolutionary BMW automobiles of this generation.

Showcasing that both future mobility and sustainability can indeed be sheer driving pleasure.

Admin Update: i8 Ride Along Video

First interior listen and view of the sensations, during a ride along, by EVO.

Towards the end of the clip, it's confirmed that the i8 will receive the same Active Sound Design from recent models such as the F10 M5 and M135i to enhance the i8's sounds in the interior.

First impressions:

More BMW i news:

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Some i3 Reactions:

"It doesn’t take long to realise the BMW i3 is already at an advanced state of development. The prototype I rode in felt solid, even if there was the odd rattle from the makeshift disguise covering parts of the interior. What really grabbed my attention, though, was its overall agility and, in trying conditions with those narrow tyres, excellent traction. Watching on as Mueller drove the prototype down slip lanes, over steep gradients and around the car park of BMW’s winter test facility, it appeared to possess all the qualities that will be required to make it suited to city use, including an excellent turning circle of less than 10 metres diameter.

With a kerb weight of 1250kg, it accelerates in truly impressive fashion thanks to the ability of its electric motor to deliver an instant and quite sizeable slab of torque. Straight line performance is roughly on par with the Mini Cooper S, with BMW claiming 0-62mph in 7.2sec and 37-75mph acceleration in 6.0sec. The top speed of the production version will, however, be limited to around 93mph to protect the charge of the battery.

The impression of sportiness can largely be traced to a driveline layout that places the i3’s electric motor low down at the rear within the axle assembly. This gives it a much lower centre of gravity than conventional front engined city cars. By providing drive to the rear wheels, the front wheels are also left to do the steering without any corruption from the drive process, as with more traditional front-wheel drive.

Just how entertaining the i3 is set to be is keenly displayed by Mueller, who whips the compact hatchback for two complete laps around a giant skid pan with an armful of opposite lock and wild oversteer without ever backing off. “Despite the electrification of the drivetrain, it remains true to the BMW philosophy in terms of its dynamic character,” he offers with a smile."

More i3 reaction at Autocar.

Some i8 Reactions:

"From inside, the i8 possesses all the hallmarks of a proper sportscar. You sit low, below the level of the carbonfibre sill, with your legs well out in front. The seats are tight, hugging, hard shell affairs. The deep but low dashboard is very prominent. However, it is the instrument binnacle – whose mesmerising graphics alter depending on the driving mode chosen, going from a calm hue of blue in eco-pro and comfort to a racier orange hue in sport mode – that initially steals my attention as we set off down a slip road and out on to BMW’s test track.

As we rush along snow-covered roads, I notice a button on the centre tunnel marked 'E mode'. Van As obliges, depressing it to alter the drive process from petrol-electric to solely electric, in which energy is provided by a lithium-ion battery pack mounted within the centre tunnel. It is a neat trick – one that will allow drivers of the BMW i8 to undertake journeys of up to 20 miles on battery power alone, allowing them to dodge London’s congestion charge and other similar zero-emission zone charges. It also provides the swoopy coupé with near-to-silent cruising qualities.

The most impressive aspect of the new car when we leave the BMW test track and head out on public roads is the smooth interplay between the three power sources, the result, Van As reveals, of countless hours spent refining the algorithms of the i8’s so-called power electronics.

“It’s a crucial part of hybrid drivetrain development, and something we’ve put a great deal of effort in to perfecting to keep us in good stead for the future,” he says. “It’s part of the reason why we decided from the outset not to engage an outside partner, but to keep all electronic development in-house, and retain the intellectual property rights for ourselves.”

The way the BMW i8’s advanced drivetrain switches from hybrid mode (in which all three power sources are in use) to pure electric mode (in which just one power source is relied upon) at the press of a button on the centre console, is extremely impressive. In hybrid mode, all four wheels provide drive. In electric mode, only the front wheels channel drive. It all sounds remarkably complex, but you’d never know it, such is seamless interplay.

Further impressions? While it may be billed as a sportscar, the i8 boasts an excellent ride. The overall set-up is claimed to be close in terms of comfort to that set to appear on the upcoming BMW 4-series coupé. “We are aware certain customers will use the i8 every day. It needs to offer sufficient low speed compliance for commuting in combination with the control required at higher speeds," says Van As.

So, is the BMW i8 be capable of taking the fight to more conventional sportscars like the Porsche 911 Carrera? After all, it is expected to cost about £100,000, a similar price to a Carrera 4S. It’ll be another year at least before we get to steer the BMW i brand’s flagship model for ourselves but we now know that it is not only spectacularly futuristic in terms of appearance but also engagingly fast, imminently usable and comfortable enough to be used everyday."

More i8 impressions at Autocar.
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