The new BMW i8 has been busy wowing crowds at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with its extraordinary streamlined design and menacing features.
From the outside, it looks like the next advance in the modern sports car realm. However, under the bonnet sits a fuel-efficient, carbon-friendly, petroelectric system.
You could never have guessed it.
While designs have been knocked around and prototypes and concepts delivered, the BMW i8 is now ready for sales. That’s right, it’s finally ready!
Set to arrive in April next year at a value of £95,000, there are many reasons to be excited about the release.
Firstly, the vehicle looks utterly sensational. On the inside, BMW has strived to achieve a balance between functionality and sporty design, trying to keep the character while keeping driver orientation.
However, it’s the outside that really matters.
Its low centre of gravity gives the impression of a stealth bomber, while rising wing doors (described as Dihedral Doors) are something that has tickled motorists fancy and sense of adventure for decades.
It looks fierce. It looks aggressive. It looks like it will pinch your wife’s bum and spill your pint given the chance. And you even wouldn’t care!
Where the exterior embodies power and rage, under the bonnet is slightly more serene.
The engine is a combination of a full-bodied petrol machine and caring considerate electric motor – kind of a Jekyll and Hyde of engines, if you will.
Located on the front axle is the electric drive, delivering 131hp (96kW). However, the rear axle hosts the BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with 231 hp (170 kW) of peak performance and up to 320 Nm of torque.
So, what does all this mean when it comes to speed? Surely a plug-in hybrid will affect the peak performance?
How does 0.62 mph in 4.4 seconds sound?
The speed is definitely impressive, but perhaps more astounding is the fact that the car can achieve 113 mpg while emitting only 59 grams of CO2.
A combination of electric drive and petrol power is expected to deliver a performance comparable to any BMW vehicle, while delivering top marks in terms of energy efficiency.
On test-drives from some of the leading motoring magazines and critics, the BMW i8 has been widely praised for its performance.
Weight has been kept down through the use of a carbon fibre reinforced plastic shell, while the low body increases acceleration, agility and efficiency.
A 50:50 axle distribution also helps to keep the weight even across the car, allowing for improved handling and drive quality.
It seems that the BMW i8 has ticked all the boxes when it comes to style, delivery, handling, speed and, of course, efficiency.
If the model proves successful, it will be a trailblazer in the carbon-friendly performance and sportscar market. However, will the average buyer be as swayed by the eco-credentials, or will it take away some of the real emotional experience felt when behind the wheel
of a proper, powerful machine.