The bmwfun has been revealed in concept form ahead of its public outing at the 2012 Beijing motor show later this month, previewing a roadster version that will follow its hybrid coupe twin into BMW showrooms.
BMW’s new petrol-electric roadster has been anticipated as the German car maker looks to build a group of environmentally friendly vehicles under its new i badge. A BMW i3 city car and BMW i8 coupe will kick off the new range next year, followed by the i8 Spyder, a year to two behind, and expected i1, i5 and i7 models.
The i8 Spyder is a touch shorter in length and wheelbase than the coupe, and features a two-seater layout rather than the 2+2 configuration of its fixed-roof sibling. There are also more conventional-looking versions of the i8′s scissor doors compared with the transparent doors of the i8 coupe concept.
BMW hasn’t revealed details of a roof system for this open-top i8, though the concept features twin-humped bodywork behind the seats that incorporate roll-over hoops.
The plug-in hybrid i8 Spyder naturally shares its drivetrain with the coupe, and comprises a 96kW electric motor that powers the front wheels and a 164kW 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that looks after the rear wheels.
The three-cylinder will have wider usage in the BMW Group, with the engine making its way into the 2014 Mini and a new front-wheel-drive BMW with which it will share its underpinnings. There will also be three-cylinder turbo diesel versions.
A perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity created by the i8 Spyder’s super-low, 1208mm height should lead to trademark BMW handling qualities.
Fuel consumption is rated at a remarkably low 3.0 litres per 100km, while the BMW i8 Spyder can travel for 30km on electric power alone. The Spyder’s lithium-ion battery pack can be recharged in just two hours using a conventional household power socket.
Carbonfibre can also be found in the two-seat cabin, along with plastic and leather.
The BMW i8 Spyder features a flat glass panel at the rear, with a shallow 100-litre luggage section. The concept features two electric ‘kick board’ scooters under the transparent cover (pictured above).
BMW Australia has already suggested pricing for the i8 coupe would be about $300,000, and the Spyder would be expected to carry a premium.