German carmaker BMW has chosen the upcoming Beijing
show to display a concept version of its new gasoline-electric
supercar, the drophead i8 Spyder.
According to design chief Benoit Jacob, the car's presence at the event is proof that BMW is pressing ahead with plans to start producing the frugal, high-tech sportster. The Beijing show runs from April 27 to May 2.
The i8 is still slated to appear first as a 2+2 coupe, with the open-air version entering the showrooms afterwards. Industry experts expect the car to make its official debut in 2014.
Both versions will use the same plug-in hybrid system with a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine mated to a front-mounted, 129 horsepower electric motor. The bodywork is fashioned from lightweight carbon-fiber composites.
Together, the gasoline engine and electric motor turn out nearly 350 horsepower and the i8 Spyder has spirited performance to match. Acceleration from 0 to 100 kmh is accomplished in under five seconds and top speed is given as 250 kmh (about 150 mph). The car can operate for 30 km on electric power only.
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