Washington, 12 June-2014(FT): In an attempt to spur innovation, Tesla Motors says that it will…
When it comes to instilling unbridled awe, only an exclusive handful of cars have managed to set pulses and imaginations racing. The Ferrari 458 Italia, the Corvette C7 Stingray, the Koenigsegg One:1… some of the works of art that instinctively trigger emotions from the get go. Never mind their limit-redefining performance numbers, it starts with the very first eyeful itself. From the moment you behold these supercars, you just know they must embody something other-worldly, technologies that lay the foundation that others will follow, design language that sets the tone for what the future must reflect.
The BMW i8 is, without a shade of a doubt, one such phenomenon. It isn’t often that all the elements come together in such elegant harmony–from the new-generation drivetrain technology to a sculpted design that looks like it will have been hewn in the 22nd century, this is a car that re-writes books.
Here are three reasons why it’s easy to believe this car may have blazed a fiery trail in from a Marty McFly future.
That design. That mind-bendingly insane design: From its low and wide stance to the aggressive angles with which those layered body panels come together, this car stands in a design class all by itself. A form this stunning hiding immense function, those curves shroud an aluminium chassis that sits within a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic body. Not your everyday bodywork, for sure. There is virtually no luggage space and the rear seats are borderline vestigial, but in the context of the overall package, these shortcomings are easy to dismiss.
It packs performance grunt while being fuel-frugal: Being a plug-in hybrid, the car uses two mills for propulsion: a 131bhp electric motor that powers the front wheels, and a 231bhp 1.5 litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that is mated to the rear wheels. Working in tandem, and in various modes, the car can beckon the power it requires depending on driving condition. And coupled with laser precise steering, this supercar’s 47.6 km/l consumption pegs it at over twice the fuel efficiency of a petrol-based autorickshaw. You’ll want to read this paragraph again for the implications of these numbers to fully sink in.
Even its key has a smartphone complex: Where other car keys are happy doing things like popping the boot and trunk, this one is a microcosm of technology in itself. Its high-resolution LCD display graphically indicates when the car was last charged, how much electric charge remains, the current fuel level and the resulting range available. And that’s just the start–its touchscreen interface also lets you access the car’s doors and windows, servicing status and more, all without even stepping into the car. The video above should excite you, even if your Mandarin isn’t top notch.
Electric motor power (bhp): 131
Petrol motor (1.5L, 3-cylinder turbo, bhp): 231
Total power (bhp): 362
Fuel consumption (Km/l): 47.6
Maximum speed (pure electric, Km/h): 120
Maximum speed (total, Km/h): 250
Acceleration (0-100 Km/h, sec): 4.4
Maximum total range (Km): 600
Weight (Kg): 1,485
Body construction: Aluminium chassis with a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic body.
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