BMW I3, I8 Make North American Debut at LA Auto Show

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu
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bmw i3 i8 make north american debut at la auto show

Productions models of the BMW i3 and i8 have made their North American debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The BMW i8 made its world premiere at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in September sporting a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine driving 231 hp to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Powering the front wheels is a 131-hp electric motor mated to a two-stage automatic transmission giving the i8 a total system output of 362 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. But given that the i8 will have a starting price tag of over $135,000, those performance figures aren’t exactly supercar territory. What does make it exemplary however is the fact that the German automaker built it with a carbon fiber monocoque chassis allowing it to sprint to 60 mph in merely 4.4 seconds.

It’s not all about straight-line speed for the i8 however, BMW has made it a point time and time again that the hybrid is built to handle thanks to its even front-rear weight distribution. It weighs in at just under 3,300 lbs, has a total range of 310 miles and can travel up to 22 miles on electricity alone. The BMW i8 will arrive on the market in 2014.

SEE ALSO: 2013 LA Auto Show Coverage

The i3 on the other hand, was built from the ground-up to be an all-electric vehicle and is competitively priced from $42,275 before any federal, state or local tax incentives or rebates. It has a curb weight of 2,630 lbs, a near 50:50 weight distribution and will accelerate to 60 mph in approximately seven seconds. Powering the i3 is an electric motor with 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, providing an all-electric range of 80 to 100 miles depending on driving conditions. The BMW i3 can also double its range with a 650-cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with 34 hp.

GALLERY: BMW i3 Live Photos

GALLERY: BMW i8 Live Photos

Discuss this story at our BMW forum.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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