BMW i8 hybrid sports car engines will be built in the UK

BMW i8BMW’s i8 extended-range electric sports car is inching closer to production. This sexy, eco-minded sports car debuted as a concept at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and the Bavarian Motor Works promised petrolheads that they would be able to buy it in the near future. That time seems to be approaching, since BMW has chosen a plant to build the i8’s three-cylinder gasoline engine.

The internal combustion component of the i8’s powertrain will be built in Hams Hall, near Birmingham, England. The Hams Hall plant currently builds engines for Mini, as well as the BMW X1, 1 Series, and 3 Series.

Three cylinders doesn’t seem like much, especially in a sports car like the i8, but this engine will primarily be charging batteries. The i8 is an extended-range electric vehicle, like the Fisker Karma and Chevy Volt, so it uses fossil fuels only when its batteries are drained. The i8 will also be able to recharge its batteries by plugging in to a charging stand.

The results should be impressive performance and fuel savings. The three-cylinder may only displace 1.5 liters (and produce 223 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque) but, the i8’s combined output (including electric motors) will be a respectable 393 hp and 406 lb-ft. BMW claimed a 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) time of 4.6 seconds, and an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph, for the i8 concept.

However, the i8’s eco-worthiness should really set it apart from other sports cars. The i8 will be able to operate as a front-wheel drive electric car, a rear-drive sports car, or a four-wheel drive hybrid. BMW says it will have an electric-only range of 20 miles. The company expects the production i8 to return 33 to 47 mpg in real world driving, and up to 87 mpg when driven by a hyper-mile hero.

The i8 will also have a sophisticated chassis, called the “Life Module,” that consists of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. The engines, transmission, and suspension are bolted to aluminum subframes. BMW is using the same design on the smaller i3 city car.

With engines churning out of Hams Hall, production of the i8 should begin in 2014. In addition to the 2+2 coupe first shown in Frankfurt, there will also be a convertible Spyder. If the i8 is really as exciting, and green, as BMW says it is, it can’t arrive soon enough.

Product Review

The 2019 Audi RS 5 Sportback lets you have your 444-hp cake and eat it, too

Audi expanded the RS 5 family with a high-performance sedan named Sportback. It stands out from rivals like the BMW M3 with a shapely fastback-like silhouette, and it surfs the downsizing wave with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 in lieu…
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Product Review

2019 Chevrolet Silverado is the biggest and best Silverado ever

There’s a lot to tell in our 2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive review, from new engine options, new chassis and suspension design, new bed and tailgate features, new trailering tools, and new trim levels. Dive in and learn.

Live out your Steve McQueen fantasies with this souped-up Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford tuner Steeda teamed up with Chad McQueen, son of Steve McQueen to create the ultimate 'Bullitt' tribute car. It's an upgraded version of the recently launched 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.

Volvo leverages the power of software to build more dynamic cars

Volvo has asked sister company Polestar to make its cars more dynamic to drive through a software update. Offered at an extra cost, the AWD optimization upgrade sends more power to the rear wheels when the driver turns on dynamic mode.
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

Can BMW’s rebooted 3 Series regain gold standard for sport sedans?

The BMW 3 Series lost its way in 2012; once the gold standard in the sport sedan segment, it disappointed by not living up to BMW's promise of delivering the ultimate driving machine. Can the new model right those wrongs?

Learn how Ford trains the test drivers who develop its hottest performance cars

Out of 11,000 Ford test drivers, only about 20 have achieved the elite "tier-four" status that qualifies them to work on performance cars. Here's how those drivers earn their stripes.

Sporty electrified Infiniti Prototype 10 concept headed to Pebble Beach

Infiniti will unveil a new concept car at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Nissan luxury brand won't say much, but promises an electrified powertrain and an emphasis on performance.

Ford’s Mustang Cobra Jet strikes as quickly as its venomous namesake

The 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is a purpose-built drag racer that will run the quarter mile in around eight seconds, according to Ford. It will be as rare as it is quick, with just 68 cars planned.
Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.