Tesla motors has thus far been skipping along with minimal competition in the electric luxury/sports car bracket, but the BMW i3 and i8 are looking pretty competitive. The i3 will feature a 125 kW electric, rear-wheel drive motor, which in laymen terms, means it will be worth about 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of instantaneous torque. Considering its bantam weight of just 1,250 kilograms (2,750 lbs), the i3 should cruise through its single gear from zero to sixty in a little less than 8-seconds. It’s expected range is somewhere around 100 miles per charge cycle. However, keep in mind, this is the practical version of the BMW i-series.
If your idea of green is flipping through a couple George Washington’s, while sitting outside Hollywood Boulevard, waiting for Lindsay Lohan, then the BMW i8 will be much more to your liking. The i8 concept is a hybrid sports car, featuring a high-performance three cylinder engine (I never thought high-performance and 3-cylinder would ever be used in the same sentence) powering the rear tires, and an electric motor powering the front. The front motor will feature a pumped version of the i3, and the gas engine will deliver 220 horsepower, for a combined rating of somewhere around 400 horsepower. Zero to sixty should come in less than 5-seconds, and stops to the gas station should come at once in a blue moon, considering its claims of 94 mpg.
We will be getting a sneak peek of the i8 in action for the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), which is scheduled to be released this December (2011). The i3 will launch to buyers sometime in 2013, and the i8 will follow it up one year later in 2014.