Just out of the blue BMW unveiled a drop-top version of its i8 concept. The Spyder, as it’s called, not only broadens the ‘i’ sub-brand’s range, it also introduces some new, cutting-edge technologies such as the laser light technology. Like the BMW i8, the Spyder is features a plug-in hybrid powertrain and is incredibly fuel efficient.
The looks of i8 Spyder are controversial. But then, that is the case with almost all new BMW models. It is supposed to be futuristic and intimidating, but at least to us, it looks like a geek-mobile. It is an advanced design though, with numerous aerodynamic elements such as contact surfaces, spoiler lips, AirCurtains and aeroflaps. These features substantially reduce the hybrid car’s Cd and enhance both efficiency and range.
The interior is a bit different over the coupe and features a mixture of plastic, carbon and leather for a sportier feel. Ultra-modern features here include a digital instrument cluster and a three-dimensional iDrive display.
The most striking features of the i8 Spyder, of course, is the powertrain. It consists of a high-performance electric motor and petrol combustion engine. The internal-combustion unit is a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine sending 164 kW (223 hp) to the rear wheels. It is mated to a 96 kW (131 hp) electric motor on the front axle. Together they develop 260 kW (354 hp) and peak torque of 550 Newton metres.
In terms of performance, the i8 Spyder does 0 to 100 km/h in 5 seconds and reaches a limited top speed of 250 km/h. So it can keep up with almost all conventional sports cars. Where it has the edge is fuel economy. It needs just three litres of petrol per 100 kilometres (equivalent to fuel economy of 94 mpg imp) in the European test cycle. That is astonishing.
In electric mode, and with the battery fully charged, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder can cover up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) on electric power alone. The petrol engine can also work as a range-extender.