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Unread 04-01-2012, 02:30 AM   #1
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BMW i8 Spyder pops the top on future mobility

Filed under: Concept Cars, New York Auto Show, Convertible, Hybrid, BMW, Electric

BMW i, the sub-brand within BMW with its eye towards the future of mobility, has unveiled its third concept, the i8 Spyder. Based on the i8 coupe that debuted last year alongside the i3 city car, the i8 Spyder is at once an obvious followup, but also appears to be a couple of steps closer to the production models that will eventually go on sale to the public.

Like the coupe, the i8 Spyder is a plug-in through-the-road hybrid with a 96 kW (131 horsepower) electric motor up front powering the front axle and a mid-mounted turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine (presumably with a displacement of 1.5 liters like the coupe) producing 223 hp that powers the rear. A pack of lithium-ion batteries are located in a center tunnel between the two power sources, which together can produce a total system output of 354 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. On electricity alone, the i8 Spyder can travel about 19 miles before the gas engine turns on to recharge the batteries. BMW says the system is good for 94 miles per gallon on the Imperial cycle, which converts to upwards of 78 miles per gallon on our own EPA cycle.

The beauty of the i8 Spyder's drivetrain is the car can be front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive depending on whether efficiency, performance or all-weather traction is called for. Like the coupe, the i8 Spyder also features a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, and BMW claims to have completely cancelled out the extra weight of the hybrid drivetrain through extensive use of lightweight materials like carbon fiber and aluminum. Performance is also impressive, with 0-62 mph happening in five seconds and a top speed governed at 155 mph.

Not everything between the coupe and spyder is the same, though. The i8 Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length. Its upward-swiveling, windowless doors are also different. The car's developers have also whimsically included a pair of electric scooters underneath a glass panel in the rear. Aside from a few more exterior tweaks to accommodate the open air design, which can be closed again with a two-section folding roof, the rest of the i8 Spyder is identical to the coupe, including the interior that features a slightly warmer choice of colors.

Scroll down for the official specs and info from BMW, and stay tuned while we hunt down the i8 Spyder for some in-person impressions. Though BMW makes no mention of its appearance at next week's New York Auto Show, the timing of this debut suggests it will be there.Continue reading BMW i8 Spyder pops the top on future mobility

BMW i8 Spyder pops the top on future mobility originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Mar 2012 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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