After a lengthy development program, and much hype surrounding its final form, BMW has pulled the wraps off the i8, the brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle.
The dramatic 2+2-seater is powered by the combination of a 170kW/320Nm 1.5-litre three cylinder, turbo petrol engine, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox, and a 96kW/250Nm synchronous electric motor, powering the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.
The lightweight, aerodynamic body is made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP); the car tipping the scales at 1490kg and boasting a drag co-efficient (Cd) of 0.26.
BMW claims the i8 will sprint from 0 – 100 km/h 4.4sec and return a combined fuel economy figure of 2.5 L/100km (113 mpg).
BMW also says the i8 is the world’s first volume-produced vehicle fitted with chemically hardened thin glass, so far used mainly in smartphone manufacture.
The partition between the passenger compartment and boot of the BMW i8 consists of two layers of chemically hardened glass, each of which is just 0.7 millimetres thick, with acoustic sheeting sandwiched in between.
In 2012, BMW previewed the i8, with the i8 Spyder Concept.
Flick through the gallery to check out the BMW i8.
Who do you think deserves to win the 2017 COTY title? Cast your vote for a chance to win $1,000.
Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.