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

Hyundai’s luxurious Tucson suffocates you with more – in a good way

The refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson may be one of the more affordable compact SUVs on the market, but there are more safety features than before as standard, as well as a hint of luxury.

Insiders claim the Tesla Model S nearly became the long-rumored Apple car

Apple offered to buy Tesla in 2013, according to an analyst who spoke to people familiar with the talks. Apple made Tesla a great offer, but the deal fell through when Elon Musk refused to step away from the company he helped found.

Parents will never miss soccer practice with BMW’s new 523-horsepower SUVs

BMW is launching M Performance versions of its biggest SUVs, the X5 and X7. While not full-on M models, they do pack 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engines, allowing both SUVs to sprint from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.

Don’t trust Tesla’s new autonomous lane-changing feature, Consumer Reports warns

Consumer Reports warns that last month's Autopilot updates that enabled automatic lane changing may put you at risk of a ticket or accident. Reaction times lagged what a human could do, testers say.

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.

EV owners may still need to stop at a Chevron station, but not to buy gasoline

EVgo, the operator of a sizable network of electric car charging stations, has partnered with Chevron. Five Chevron stations located in California will install EVgo chargers that electric car owners can pay to use.

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.

Audi TT will get the ax to make way for electric cars — and the R8 may be next

Once a design leader, the Audi TT will meet its demise to make room in Audi's lineup for more electric cars. Audi executives confirmed plans to kill off the TT at the automaker's annual shareholder meeting.

Honda recalls 119,000 2019 CR-V crossovers over fears of airbag deployment

A manufacturing defect in select 2019 Honda CR-V crossovers could cause the airbag to malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, leading the automaker to recall some 137,000 vehicles worldwide, 118,598 of them in the U.S.

Cadillac confirms V-Series performance versions of the CT5 and CT4

Cadillac will unveil CT5-V and CT4-V sports sedans in Detroit May 30. They will be the latest cars in the General Motors luxury brand's V-Series performance line, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Watch Cruise Automation’s driverless car perform one of the trickiest maneuvers

Unprotected left turns in urban environments are one of the trickiest maneuvers a driver has to perform — and the same goes for self-driving cars. Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise Automation appears close to nailing it.

Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.

How Verizon and Team Penske are using 5G to make Indy 500 race cars faster

Team Penske, the most successful race team in Indy 500 history, is using Verizon 5G in its bid to win the 2019 Indy 500. Modern race cars generate tons of data, and a 5G connection lets teams harvest that data faster.

Leaf electric-car batteries can outlast vehicles by up to 12 years, Nissan claims

Nissan Leaf batteries have roughly twice the lifes pan of the cars they're installed in, according to an executive from the automaker. Nissan is investigating alternative uses for those batteries.