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by Tim Beissmann

The BMW i8 will cost $299,000 when it arrives in Australian showrooms in March 2015.

BMW Australia today confirmed pricing and specification details of the plug-in hybrid sports car, which will become the halo model in the new BMW i range that launches in November with the city-sized i3.

BMW Australia says it has ticked almost every option box for the i8, claiming Australian customers will get a highly specified vehicle for the $299,000 asking price, which positions it against the likes of the Audi R8 (from $279,500), Maserati GranTurismo (from $308,000), Porsche 911 GT3 ($294,100), and BMW’s own M6 coupe ($292,500).

The BMW i8 headed for our shores will be equipped with a number of advanced technology and driver assist features including adaptive LED headlights, head-up display, high beam assist, top-view and side-view cameras, and collision and pedestrian warning systems with city braking.

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Standard inside will be an 8.8-inch central display with Professional navigation system, iDrive touch controller, and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with digital radio, 20GB hard drive for music storage, and Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming.

The i8 will offer the full suite of ConnectedDrive services including internet access, real-time traffic information, emergency calling, and other app-based functions. It will also incorporate the full range of BMW 360 Electric services, comprising apps tailored to the specific needs of electric vehicle owners.

BMW i8 owners will also have access to alternative vehicles for up to 12 days per year, allowing them, for example, to borrow an X3 to help carry extra passengers and luggage on a family holiday.

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The four-seat, carbonfibre-reinforced, scissor-door BMW i8 teams a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 266kW of power and 570Nm of torque.

Power from the petrol engine is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, while the electric motor drives the front wheels via a two-stage auto transmission.

BMW claims a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.4 seconds and combined cycle fuel consumption of 2.5 litres per 100km from the 1490kg sports car.

A 5kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides a pure-electric driving range of 35km at speeds up to 120km/h, while its total driving range is rated at more than 500km.




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