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Unread 07-29-2011, 06:30 PM   #1
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Uncovering more details on BMW's i3 and i8 [w/videos]

Filed under: Concept Cars, Coupe, Hybrid, Technology, Hatchback, BMW, Electric

We've just wrapped up a series of workshops in Germany about all things BMW i, but before we drop our "Behind i" feature on you next week, we wanted to give you a few tasty morsels to chew on while you're pursuing our massive gallery of the all-new i3 and i8 concepts.

If you haven't read our breakdown on both models, check it out now, as it includes the basic specs, powertrain, suspension, chassis and a cursory look at all the techy tidbits behind the i3 and i8. But here's the latest...

The i3 will tip the scales at 2,755 pounds, while the i8 will come in under 3,300 pounds. While that might sound slightly chunky, consider that the average gasoline-powered car converted to EV duty normally tacks on around 500 pounds courtesy of the battery, motor and cooling system. When looked at in this way, both models could be considered rather svelte.

The carbon fiber "Life" structure that envelops the i3's passengers is so strong (yet very light) that BMW's engineers didn't have to include a B-pillar for structural rigidity. That means ingress and egress should be easy, aided by the fact that both models utilize ultra-thin carbon fiber and plastic bits for the interior elements. Click past the jump for a whole mess of videos featuring the new i3 and i8 concepts in more detail.

According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of BMW Design, those oh-so-low side windows probably won't make it to production, but the design team is intent on bringing as much light into the cabin as possible - particularly on the i8. However, the i3's glass roof will make way for a full carbon fiber piece when production begins next year.

In our previous story, we mentioned that the i3 could be outfitted with an optional range extending engine, and after much poking and prodding, we got an answer on what it is and how it'll work. The engine will be rear-mounted, right against the electric motor (not compromising luggage space), and it will be a two-cylinder gasoline mill with a displacement of around 600cc. Cooling will be provided by the liquid system keeping the battery pack in check, and the i3 will be a true range-extender - no engine torque will reach the wheels mechanically (unlike the Chevrolet Volt). How much of an extension? Double, or around 186 miles.

And as for the i8, this will be the first mid-engine BMW in nearly 30 years, likely to be fitted with a dual-clutch gearbox and some kind of torque vectoring system to put out a combined 402 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels when the turbo'd 1.5-liter three-cylinder and electric motor are working in unison.

Check out a whole slew of videos from BMW after the break.Continue reading Uncovering more details on BMW's i3 and i8 [w/videos]

Uncovering more details on BMW's i3 and i8 [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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