Drive & efficiency of the BMW i8.

Thanks to the innovative LifeDrive vehicle architecture, the BMW i8 fulfils the ideal conditions for weight-optimised construction - with an extremely low centre of gravity 50:50 axle distribution. The perfect basis for the characteristics of a classic sports car. When the extraordinary combination of an electric motor and a powerful petrol engine are also taken into consideration, this sets the foundation for the most innovative sports car of our time.

Innovative drive concept

The sporty character of the BMW i8 is noticeable everywhere, thanks to the vehicle's intelligent drive control system. Its combustion engine and electric drive interact precisely, while the exceptional control of all flows of energy results in an optimal combination of efficiency and dynamics.

    • Think further to go further. The intelligent plug-in hybrid system in the BMW i8 combines the benefits of an electric motor and a petrol engine into an extraordinary driving experience: highest efficiency and maximum dynamics are simultaneously possible. The electric drive, a powerful 96 kW (131 hp), is located on the front axle. The rear axle is driven by an authoritative BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with 170 kW (231 hp) of peak performance and up to 320 Nm of torque; combined with the electrical boost of the hybrid system, it guarantees typical BMW driving pleasure.

      Together the pair accelerates the BMW i8 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds*. And this with an enormous saving in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, as it uses just 2.1* l per 100 km and emits 49 g/km*.

      * Values conditional.
    • The innovative BMW eDrive technology is the result of many years of BMW EfficientDynamics development work. Three key features deliver an unequalled emission-free driving experience: the entire torque of the extremely agile electric motor is available virtually from a standing start, and uninterrupted acceleration is maintained up to the maximum speed. An innovative cooling system keeps the high-voltage battery constantly at the optimal operating temperature, which increases performance and longevity.

      The intelligent energy management system coordinates optimal interaction between the electric motor and the high-voltage battery with the goal of maximum performance with minimum consumption. Regenerative braking mediated by one-pedal driving extends the car's range. Together with the ECO PRO modes, the push of a button is all it takes to gear all car systems towards maximum efficiency - and utilise energy reserves intelligently.
    • A new dimension of sporty electromobility: The BMW i8 can be charged to 80 % quickly and easily within 2.5 hours via the charging cable at a standard electrical socket. With the BMW i Wallbox, you can optimise charging times, enabling the BMW i8 to be charged to 80 % in approximately two hours.

      Even the vehicle concept and drive control are configured to ensure a balanced flow of energy on the move. During rest phases, the TwinPower Turbo engine charges the high-voltage battery via a generator. The electric motor also charges the lithium-ion battery in various driving situations. Additional energy is obtained via Brake Energy Regeneration. Thus, the battery is never flat and the electrical drive is always operational.
The future of driving pleasure.

BMW EfficientDynamics takes you even further.

All-wheel drive

In eDrive mode, the BMW i8 drives completely electrically, while Hybrid mode allows the intelligent combination of two types of drive that provide optimal traction in every situation. The electric drive, a powerful 96 kW (131 hp), is located on the front axle. The rear axle is driven by an authoritative three-cylinder petrol engine with 170 kW (231 hp). All four wheels can be powered simultaneously by two engines and - depending on the driving situation - the advantages of front, rear or al-wheel drive utilised. In extra-urban environments, the fully-fledged all-wheel drive in the BMW i8 comes into its own - at speeds of up to 250 km/h.

Driving modes

A variety of modes for an exceptional driving experience: COMFORT, ECO PRO, SPORT and the eDrive button optimise the vehicle properties of your BMW i8 according to the driving situation. Purely electrical driving is possible up to a range of 35 km as is an extremely athletic sports car feeling in extra-urban areas. Between the two lies the best of both worlds: the petrol engine and electric motor constantly demonstrate that their technical symbiosis is never a compromise.

    • All the power you need as soon as you drive off. In the COMFORT mode, the fully-charged BMW i8 starts electrically. Purely electrical driving up to approximately 60 km/h is possible in the city; even pulling away from traffic lights and overtaking are purely electrical.
    • The ECO PRO mode allows the BMW i8 to prove its efficiency. The accelerator, engine, heating and cooling systems are all adjusted to be as efficient as possible. Purely electrical driving is possible up to a speed of 60 km/h. In addition to this, the combustion engine is activated at high speeds or when the battery's charge level falls under a specified minimum.
    • As an alternative to the drive setting 'D' for automatic driving, the driver can also use the gear lever to change gears in SPORT mode. This mode also includes manual gear selection - via the gear shift or paddles on the steering wheel. SPORT mode also activates vehicle settings especially suited to sporty driving. The combustion engine and the electric motor unfold their driving torque with full dynamics, the accelerator's characteristic line is programmed to react spontaneously and the driver gets the full impact of the electric motor's boost function. To ensure there is always enough energy available, the SPORT setting also affords maximum brake energy regeneration in the thrust and brake phases.
    • Pressing the eDrive button gives the BMW i8 free rein to demonstrate its electrical performance. This button can be deployed in COMFORT and ECO PLUS modes. In COMFORT mode with eDrive, the BMW i8 drives without support from the combustion engine until the battery is almost exhausted. Purely electrical driving at speeds of up to 120 km/h is possible with eDrive. If the button isn't pressed the combustion engine kicks in at 60 km/h.


Streamlined bodyshell, a succinct, conical shape, low weight and a range of aerodynamically-optimised characteristics. The BMW i8 represents the pinnacle of dynamics - and simultaneously displays optimal efficiency.

    • The lines and flat silhouette of the BMW i8 make its pronounced forward thrust evident at first glance. Dynamically beautiful when at a standstill, with a shape and details committed to the ideals of aerodynamics, which also influence its design. The stream flow, defined by the merging shape of the C-pillar, the side wall that swings upwards and the roof line, is more than just an optical accent. In the BMW i8 this concept clearly improves aerodynamics. Drag of only 0.26 cW leaves no doubt that the BMW i8 is a sports car - with an aerodynamic wedge-shaped design unlike any other.
    • The almost closed BMW kidney grille and the active air control vents in the front only let in as much air as the cooling system requires. The so-called aeroflaps behind the front wheels and in front of the rear ones, as well as the air shovel in the front bumper serve to redirect the air flow and lower drag. Optically highlighted, they make it possible to see the aerodynamics of the BMW i8 at a glance. The precisely balanced air flow in the bodyshell allows for the highest driving dynamics and stability.

Intelligent lightweight construction

Consistent lightweight construction is of vital importance for electric vehicles. It's one of the vehicle's most expressive traits and influences dynamics, design and efficiency. A lower vehicle weight means faster acceleration, higher agility and maximum efficiency.

    • To make up for the extra weight of the electric battery, the BMW i8 makes innovative use of a range of materials, even down to screws and bolts out of aluminium. The carbon compound comprising the passenger cell is an ingenious all-rounder. Up to 50 % lighter than steel and about 30 % lighter than aluminium with the same highly-stable, crash-safe material properties. An important component of the innovative LifeDrive architecture that changes everything in the BMW i8 - even the future of sporty driving.
    • Sports car proportions meet an extraordinary lightweight concept. The LifeDrive architecture is made up of two units that correspond exactly to the requirements of intelligent lightweight construction. The Drive module is the aluminium bodyshell. The high-voltage battery and drive components in the front and back are accommodated here. The Life module is the ultra-light passenger cell made of high-strength carbon. It compensates for the extra weight of the electric motor and the high-voltage battery. In its entirety it's known as the LifeDrive concept and makes the BMW i8 the forerunner of the hybrid generation. With a lightweight construction concept that fits like a bespoke suit: to bring full sportiness and well-planned sustainability efficiently to the street.
    • The special LifeDrive architecture allows the BMW i8 to distribute its weight optimally across all four axles. The electric motor in the front, the petrol engine behind - and, as the consolidating element, the so-called energy tunnel with built-in high voltage battery runs along the centre console through the car. The hybrid technology with the battery at the bottom of the bodyshell combined with the light carbon module above it ensures optimal weight distribution. The vehicle has a particularly low centre of gravity, which enables extraordinarily high agility, excellent traction and directional stability in every driving situation.

The revolutionary architecture for electric vehicles.