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BMW i8 Concept Spyder in motion [Video]

BMW's i8 Concept Spyder is previewed in motion for the first time.

The New York Auto Show came and went, and amidst the hustle there was supposed to be an unveiling of a Spyder variant of the upcoming BMW i8. That never happened.

Although BMW's i8 Concept Spyder pulled a no-show for New York, the automaker did release a new promotional video that shows the open-air eco-car hit the streets, showing it in motion for the first time ever.

(More after video)


Like the i8 hardtop, the i8 Spyder is expected to preview a production model of BMW's upcoming i lineup of eco-friendly vehicles. The i8 Spyder would undoubtedly be the line's flagship, both in terms of style and cost.

The i8 Spyder Concept boasts upward-swiveling and windowless doors that give access to a cabin that appears to be getting closer and closer to production with every day. While the proportions appear almost production-ready, the i8's detailing remains rather outlandish, to say the least. Bold blue color swathes do more than add style; they improve the car's aerodynamics.

The i8 Spyder features a pair of electric kickboards that are stowed beneath a transparent glass panel on the rear deck. Don't look for these whimsical touches to make production, although we wouldn't be surprised to see them wind up in BMW's accessory catalog.

The Spyder follows in the coupe's footsteps by offering BMW's upcoming eDrive powertrain, a plug-in hybrid setup that consists of a 131 horsepower electric motor powering the front axle and a 223-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine motivating the rear wheels. BMW says that both engines combine for 354 horsepower and about 405 lb-ft. of torque. As a result, the i8 Concept Spyder can sprint to 62 mph in just five seconds before topping out at 155 mph. Despite the performance, BMW says that fuel consumption is just 94 mpg imperial, or around 78 mpg U.S.

With all four wheels capable receiving power, BMW says that the driver can manually select exactly what proportion of power should be sent to either the front or the rear, effectively making the i8 Concept Spyder a three-mode vehicle.

The electric motor is powered by a lithium ion battery that BMW says can be charged in under two hours using a conventional household socket; just how the automaker has sliced charging times has not been made clear, however. The battery allows the roadster to travel in pure EV mode for about 19 miles before the gas engine needs to kick in.

High tech features
i8's innovations don't stop with the powertrain. two large displays inside show instrument and infotainment functions, while a third screen is used for climate controls.

To improve efficiency, the i8 Concept Spyder is linked to an "intelligent" navigation system that monitors topography and road conditions to make optimal use of the car's power and battery charge.

Careful weight saving techniques have kept the i8 below 3,600 lbs., while trick packaging has maintained BMW's vaunted 50:50 weight distribution.