2015 BMW i8

What's new for 2015? For 2015, the BMW i8 is unchanged.

Hearing the phrase "high-performance plug-in hybrid" would normally make about as much sense as "jumbo shrimp" or "rational and selfless politician." But the 2015 BMW i8 lends unquestionable credibility to that seeming oxymoron. Able to sprint to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph, this exotic, environmentally conscious sports machine also boasts a 76 MPGe EPA fuel economy rating. If driving this car is going green, then consider us card-carrying members of the tree-hugger's club.

This BMW's magic happens by way of a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Working together, this dynamic duo makes 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque and channels it to all four wheels. Running on electric power alone, the i8 can travel up to 15 miles and reach a top speed of 75 mph. When the gas engine kicks on, the i8 has anything but a supercar's appetite for gas as it earns a combined fuel economy rating of 28 mpg and extends the i8's total estimated driving to a generous 330 miles. Recharging the car's battery pack can take as little as 1.5 hours.

Also contributing to the 2015 BMW i8's high performance and fuel-saving capabilities is the car's lightweight construction. Aluminum, carbon fiber and thinner, chemically hardened glass are all employed in its manufacture. Indeed, despite all the hybrid hardware packed into the i8, it is pretty much the same weight and length as a 3 Series sedan. A 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution and low, centrally mounted battery pack promote finely balanced, agile handling to go along with the straight-line thrills.

Exterior Highlights
Two-door, plug-in hyrbid sports car with 2+2 seating available in a single trim level

The 2015 BMW i8 is a two-door, plug-in hybrid sports car with 2+2 seating. It comes in a single trim level.

Standard features include 20-inch wheels, adjustable suspension, LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights, running lights and taillights), automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear park assist, an overhead camera view system, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery, power front seats, heated front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping and leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, memory settings and a head-up display.

Other standard electronics features include a navigation system, BMW's iDrive electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW Assist, Internet accessibility and a Harman Kardon sound system with an iPod/USB interface, satellite radio and HD radio. Also included are BMW Apps (selected smartphone apps integration) and BMW Remote Services (which allows Apple and Android users to lock the car remotely and turn on the climate control, among various other tasks).

There are three option packages available, known as Worlds. Giga World includes turbine-style wheels and expanded, perforated leather upholstery. Tera World features a choice of the standard or turbine-style wheels and special cloth and leather upholstery. Pure Impulse World includes black brake calipers, a choice of the standard or turbine wheels and a variety of unique interior trim and materials upgrades, including a leather engine cover.

Multi-tiered and layered cockpit design in interior, use of recycled materials, supportive power seats, center stack canted towards driver

Once inside the i8, you'll find a multi-tiered and layered cockpit design that uses recycled materials and naturally treated leather for upholstery and panel surfaces. The power seats offer good support and long-distance comfort, and even taller drivers will have headroom to spare. The center stack is canted toward the driver, putting everything close at hand.

The shifter and various mode switches are close by, too, and each selection changes the background color and meter design of the main instrument pod. The dials turn blue in EV mode; Sport is red and Comfort is gray.

The BMW i8 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard are BMW Assist emergency communications (includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance) as well as parking sensors and an around-car view camera system.

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