BMW i, the Bavarian carmaker’s eco-flavoured sub-brand, has lifted the wraps of its third i8 concept: the i8 Concept Spyder. Although based on the i8 coupe concept, this drop-top eco-sportscar takes a couple of steps closer to production readiness.
The i8 Spyder shares its powertrain with the coupe. A 96 kW electric motor sitting on front axle provides drive to the front wheels while a mid-mounted, three-cylinder petrol engine (presumably displacing around 1,5 litres) pushes 164 kW to the rear. This set-up provides the car combined outputs of 260 kW and 550 N.m of torque, enabling it to crack the 0-100 km/h sprint in 5 seconds on the way to a 250 km/h top speed. BMW reportedly claims a 1 hour, 45 minute charging time for the i8’s lithium-ion battery pack from a high voltage source.
Among the other powertrain highlights are an electric-only range of 30 km, which helps the i8 realise a combined fuel consumption rating of just 3 L/100 km. The drivetrain system can also be switched between all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive depending on whether the driving conditions call for all-weather grip, efficiency or a bit of fun.
Despite the weight penalty these hybrid systems often entail, BMW still claims a perfect 50:50 weight distribution figure for the i8 Spyder while managing to offset the the system’s additional mass via the extensive use of lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium.
The Spyder sits on a platform marginally shorter than that of the coupe and features upwards-swivelling doors bereft of the earlier concept’s glass panels. The rear section features a flat, transparent engine cover in lieu of the coupe’s sloping roofline and while the roof system itself has not yet been revealed, it’s believed to comprise a two-section removable panel fashioned from carbon fibre. BMW has also managed to incorporate a par of electrically powered eco-scooters into the rear deck under the luggage cover. The cabin incorporates a warmer colour palette than that of the coupe and does away with the snug 2+2 seating arrangement in favour of a 2-seater cockpit.
More details will emerge closer to the concept’s official unveiling at this month’s Beijing Motor Show.