When BMW’s Vision EfficienDynamics concept first wowed showgoers at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, we all knew that any production version would see such radical touches as the glowing blue grille and glass scissor doors instantly red-penned by the company’s bean-counters.
Nevertheless, we were still keen to see how BMW’s plan for an eco-sportscar would pan out. We got a better idea when the midly toned-down i8 concept was revealed, along with its smaller i3 city car sibling, at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but there were still some flight of fancy items that we all knew would get the boot.
Now the latest iteration of the i8 has been snapped by spy photographers working for Auto Express, and despite some further trimming to meet the inevitable budget and safety goals, it appears that the production i8 will still be a visually appealing car.
Despite the miasmic blue camouflage applied to this test mule, we can see that the glass doors have been omitted in favour of more conventional items, while the nose has been smoothed out and the headlamp arrangement moves more towards the front of the car – perhaps in a bid to share some parts commonality with other models in the BMW line-up as a cost-saving measure. The rear profile shows a set of tail lamps set much lower on the facia, which could indicate that the “floating” blade-like units featured on the concept could well have bitten the dust and merely be represented as bodywork or part of the rear spoiler on the production car. Having said that, it is still a striking machine.
There is still a great deal of speculation surrounding the powerplants earmarked for this model, although the likelihood is that a four-cylinder petrol unit developing around 165 kW will power the rear wheels, while a 96 kW electric motor will send drive to the front, as it did in the latest concept. It remains to be seen whether the concept’s lightweight carbon-fibre bodywork will make its way onto the production model. On the previous concept, it contributed to the car’s claimed 4,6 second 0-100 km/h time, fuel consumption of just 2,7 L/100 km and CO2 emissions of only 70g/km.
The i8, which will be the flagship model of BMW’s eco-friendly i range of vehicles, will go on sale during the course of 2013.