The BMW i8 Roadster, formerly known as the i8 Spyder, definitely surprised and thrilled auto journalists when it was unveiled on April 1, 2012. Last year, the plug-in hybrid electric concept car won the North American Concept Car of the Year award. This year it has gone on to win the Best Production Preview Vehicle award.
Who’s giving out these awards anyway… BMW board members? Actually, the awards are decided by two dozen professional automotive journalists from throughout North America. They are volunteer jurors, and they give out awards in the following categories: Production Preview Vehicle, Concept Car, Concept Truck/SUV, Specialty Concept, and Most Significant Concept Vehicle.
Here’s a summary of the i8 Concept Roadster from BMW:
Following the presentation of the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept, the BMW Group introduces the BMW i8 Concept Roadster to the mix. This third BMW i model embodies the future of cutting-edge and emotionally appealing mobility concepts. Its sporting design headlines the qualities of an open-top two-seater blending lightness, dynamic capability and efficiency with a very special aesthetic allure.
The combination of intelligent lightweight design and state-of-the-art hybrid technology imbues the BMW i8 Concept Roadster with genuine sports car performance, yet its fuel consumption is no higher than you would expect from a small car.
Among the most eye-catching features of the BMW i8 Concept Roadster are the upward-swiveling, windowless doors and a range of purpose-oriented on-board equipment including electric kickboards stowed under a transparent tailgate. The sports car is based around the innovative LifeDrive architecture, itself underpinned by a lightweight modular construction and the use of high-quality high-tech materials. The BMW i8 Concept Roadster is a plug-in hybrid powered by an eDrive drivetrain combining a high-performance electric motor and petrol combustion engine. The lithium-ion battery supplying the motor with power can be recharged in an extremely short space of time from any domestic power socket. Together, the car’s minimized weight, low center of gravity and finely judged balance, coupled with a combined system output of up to 260 kW (354 hp), promise unbeatable dynamic capability, exceptional efficiency and unbridled driving pleasure.
For more details, check out the full BMW i8 Concept Roadster page. If you just want to gawk over some more images, here are a bunch more images from BMW: