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Making their world premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the BMW i3 and i8 may just be concepts, but point to a major push by the German automaker into the realm of electrified vehicles. In fact, BMW is so serious that its working towards an entire range of “i” branded alternative vehicles, sporting both electric and hybrid-electric powertrains.
As a full-electric car, BMW obviously has high hopes for the i3, naming it in line with its much-loved and best-selling 3 Series. Making 170-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque it can hit 60 mph in roughly 8 seconds and on to a top speed of 100 mph, making it functional for more than just city driving. With a unique regeneration system similar to that found on the MINI-E, even just laying off the throttle acts as a brake. Recharging the car’s batteries takes just one hour for an 80 percent charge.
The i3 is also BMW’s fist foray into the world of carbon fiber platforms, using a carbon fiber reinforced plastic chassis to keep weight to a somewhat reasonable 2,755 lbs.
More exciting, both to look at and to drive (we imagine) is the i8. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it makes use of a modified version of the i3′s electric motor mated to the front wheels, while a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine delivers 223-hp to the rear axle. While that might not sound like a lot for a car that looks this impressive, BMW claims a 0-60 time of roughly 5 seconds.
With an onboard battery pack, the i8 has a zero-emissions range of 22 miles and BMW claims a 78-mpg rating.
Headed to production, look for the biggest changes to happen not with the powertrains, but with the interior and exterior styling. Those looking to park an electric BMW in their driveway won’t have to wait too long either, with the i3 set to go on sale in 2013, while the i8 will arrive a year later.
GALLERY: BMW i3, i8 Concepts
Watch video of the i3 and i8 concepts from their Frankfurt debut after the jump:
Bruce Wayne might drive a Lamborghini, but for Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt, it’s a BMW. The German luxury cars are set to star prominently alongside Tom Cruise in the upcoming “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” flick.
From the trailer its clear numerous BMW models will appear throughout the movie, with particular focus on the new i8 hybrid sports car, formerly known as the EfficientDynamics Concept.
Back in January the high-tech BMW was spied at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi doing some filming, and with much of the new Mission Impossible set in the UAE, it’s no coincidence.
First unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2009, the concept is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain using a turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder diesel engine. It can reportedly hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds while getting 62.5 mpg.
Watch the trailer after the jump. Surprisingly, it actually looks pretty good:
BMW has confirmed that it will launch a new sub-brand of fuel efficient vehicles under the ‘i’ badge. Representing the greener side of the automaker’s portfolio, the i branded vehicles will focus on “sustainable vehicles and mobility solutions.”
Set to hit the market in 2013, the first two models in the i lineup will be the i3 and i8. The i3 (an indication that this will be the projected volume model) will be the production version of the BMW MegaCity, which will use an entirely carbon fiber chassis. As for the i8, it is expected to be the production version of the Efficient Dynamics Concept car and use hybrid technology to achieve incredible performance.
Expect more from BMW on the i brand at the Geneva Auto Show. Until then, check out more of the teasers below.
GALLERY: BMW i
BMW has confirmed it will build a production model based on the Vision EfficientDynamics (VED) concept, which it first revealed at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year. The news comes as little surprise, with the concept having been incredibly well received my the media and public, while winning several awards for both design and technology.
To show how far along in the production process the company is, BMW showing a near production version of the VED at the Leipzig trade fair center, allowing media to drive the car.
BMW will say it uses an advanced hybrid system, although specifics aren’t yet available. The concept car was powered by a 3-cylinder turbo diesel with a plug-in hybrid system making 328-hp and allowing a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds, while registering just 62.5 mpg. That number is made more impressive when you consider the car can drive 31 emissions free miles first.
No indication of when the production model will arrive has been given, but we have to think its not as far-off as one might think.
GALLERY: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Prototype
Official release after the jump: