BMW’s i8 Roadster wins Concept Car of the Year award, debut set for 2014?

BMW i8 Roadster conceptThe BMW i8 Roadster (also known as Concept Spyder) hasn’t gone into production yet, but it’s already earned an award. This sexy supercar concept, which previews BMW’s long awaited plug-in hybrid halo car, won the North American Concept Car of the Year Award for for Best Production Preview Vehicle.

Some concept cars are just flights of fancy, but BMW’s decision to actually build the i8 Roadster landed it in the Production Preview category. Unlike the Oscars, the rules also allow for repeat performances: the i8 Roadster was named overall Concept Car of the Year in 2012.

The awards are doled out by a panel automotive journalists, who also pick a best Concept Truck, Specialty Concept, and Most Significant Concept.

The i8 is part of BMW’s i sub-brand of green vehicles. The brand has been gestating since the hardtop i8 and i3 electric city car were unveiled as concepts at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

With the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Acura NSX on the way, you’d think we’d be over hybrid supercars, but when the i8 finally makes the transition from concept car to production car, it should be just as impressive as its rivals.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain, called eDrive, consists of a 223 horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine and a 131 hp electric motor. Combined, BMW says they will get the i8 from 0 to 100 kph (0 to 62 mph) in 4.6 seconds, while returning 94 mpg on the European cycle.

The i8 features a lithium-ion battery pack that gives it an electric-only range of 19 miles, but doesn’t upset the car’s 50:50 weight distribution.

Encasing the high tech powertrain is the equally astonishing LifeDrive architecture. It consists of a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic Life Module, which serves as a safety cage for the driver and passenger, and an aluminum Drive Module, which cradles the mechanical components.

The i8 is definitely worthy of an award, but we’ll still have to wait awhile to experience the more visceral side of its greatness.

The i8 Coupe will go on sale, at the earliest, in 2014, most likely as a 2015 model. The Roadster will follow it by at least a few months. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Cadillac is finally ready to take on Tesla with its own electric car

At the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac announced plans for its first electric car. The unnamed model will be a crossover, based on a new platform to be shared with other General Motors brands.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.