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Despite the likely prospect that Australia won’t see either the BMW i8 or i3 before mid-2014 at the earliest, more than six Australians have already put deposits down on BMW’s high-performance i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.

The BMW i3 is set to launch internationally in mid-2014, but all initial production volume will go to major markets including the UK, US and China.

While Australia is likely to see only small numbers of the BMW i3 during the latter half of 2014, a limited supply of i8 production models will be received locally from about the same time in 2014.

Although the BMW i3 has been largely billed as an all-electric model, BMW Australia will offer a range extended version, at least from the launch, to address any range-anxiety from buyers in Australia.

Although there are a number of expressions of interest for the BMW i3, no such deposits have been taken on the car due to the fact that BMW Australia is yet to decide on how the car will be sold. The options are a conventional transaction, lease-only model, or a combination of the two.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed for either vehicle, but with BMW expecting the i8 to go up against the Audi R8 e-tron, a project believed to be on-hold, the BMW i8 will find its own place in the segment. Nonetheless, the standard Audi R8 (entry price of $271,000) is still expected to be a guide for i8 pricing in Australia.

As a plug-in hybrid the BMW i8 combines two different drive systems: an electric motor and an internal combustion engine.

The i8 adopts the same electric motor setup from the i3 city car, but modified for use in a plug-in hybrid system, while a 164kW/300Nm turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine drives the rear axle. The two drivetrains combine to provide a top speed of 250km/h (limited) and a sprint time of 0-100km/h in less than five seconds. Fuel consumption is a claimed 2.7L/100km on a combined cycle.

The BMW i8 can also run on pure electric drive with a range of 35 kilometres, with a full-charge possible in two hours from a standard power outlet.

The BMW i3 will be BMW’s first zero emissions car as a pure electric vehicle, it will have a range between 130-160km. That distance will be increased on the range-extended version that Australia will get, but precise figures are not yet known.

Performance will be brisk, too, with the i3 able to go from 0-100km/h in less than eight seconds.

  • F1orce

    This uses Toyota’s HSD?

    It’s amazing how quick Germans bring products out on the market..

    Considering how we haven’t heard of any Toyota using BMW’s diesel..

    The deal between Toyota & BMW benefits BMW entirely as Petrol/Hybrid is the future.

    Where as diesel will soon become obsolete.


    Audi TDI >>>> BMW diesel

    • AndyGF

      Okay F1, ill take the bait, just because its fun… So lets see;

      i3 – CFRP monocoque, body and interiors made out of 30% recycled materials. Proper sequential gearbox and plug-in zero emissions mode, Direct Injection Turbo Charged 2/3 cylinder enignes. 0-100 in 8 seconds…

      i8 everything the i3 has plus more power, bigger batteries, super low CD. 0-100 in 4 seconds, looks to kill.

      – compared with –

      Anything from toyota… Steel construction, slushy & drony CVT, rubish non-direct injection, un-turbocharged groaning hatch back 1500cc engine with ‘atkins-cycle cams in’… woooooo! Heavy and inefficient Nickel metal hydride batteries and still waiting for PEV support…

      I see the similarities, you must be right, BMW is really actually using HSD… *chortle* *chortle*

      • F1orce

        Oh Andy

        Comparing a to be expected $271,000 vehicle to a Prius 

        Dear oh dear

        btw why did BMW and Toyota ‘team up’? The reason simply was so that BMW gets access to Toyota’s HSD which is the most advanced, sophisticated and efficient Hybrid system available.

        Something BMW obviously isn’t capable of.

        • Rastus

          There will be a trade off for Toyota.Be sure of that.
          Maybe BMW diesel engines?
          And therefore maybe diesel /electric hybrids, which Toyota said it was not going to invest in.

          • Golfmother

            Floor mats , they need BMW expertise in floor mats .

          • Dave W

            Well, I guess that’s why Toyota didn’t choose to partner up with VW. It would be a nightmare to market a tartan floor mat… “Straight from a Scotsman’s crotch to your foot.”

          • Golfmother

            But dave VW floor mats are a work of art , i like that idea tartan to match me jacky seats .

          • Phil

            Floormats are a work of art? Lol, you crack me up.

      • Paul

        You are spot on M8 I don’t like that Toyota still in 2012 still uses crappy Ni Cad battery’s. They need to wake up and smell the roses

      • jj54

        Before people go rubbishing nickel metal hydride hybrid batteries, 10 year old Prius  cars with 200,000 miles on the clock have had their batteries tested – and found to be pretty close to factory specification in terms of their performance. That’s called ‘Proven Technology’. It remains to be seen how Li ion batteries perform at 10 years. And Toyota should get full credit for designing a battery that can work so well over such a long period. Many combustion engines will already be looking at major maintenance by 200,000 miles.

  • Hung Low

    The i8 is a brilliant looking hybrid, it’s a demonstration of what Toyota should have had as a halo model for their hybrid business in which Lexus will play the part in now.
    Even though they get the best Diesel engines from the agreement, I think the long term viability will be hybrid tech, so BMW got the better deal here.

    • Dave W

      I agree with you on why Toyota should’ve had a hybrid halo model. A Lexus LF-A hybrid would’ve been awesome. Maybe that’s what they’re planning with the LF-LC concept.

      As for the hybrid tech, why do you think BMW got the better deal? I’m sure Toyota has patents on their tech so it’s not like BMW can just rip it off. And there must be a gazillion of clauses in the contract specifying the terms and conditions.

  • Hung Low

    In the next decade, diesels will find it harder to meet the then newer emission targets where the gain in hybrid tech would be the common initiative and a better deal for BMW regardless.

    • Dave W

      It’s actually not about Toyota supplying BMW with its hybrid tech as we originally thought.

      BMW supplies Toyota with small diesel engines for Toyota’s European cars.

      Toyota and BMW will then collaborate on next gen Li-ion battery, fuel cell technology, lightweight vehicle platform, and a brand spankin new Sports car!!

      • Miles

        I’m glad BMW and Toyota are working together on next-gen fuel cell technology. They’re two of the companies at the forefront of these kinds of alternative tech vehicles and it’ll be great to see them combine their knowledge and innovate together.

  • Noddy_of_Toyland

    Looks very preach.