Closer Look: BMW’s New i3, i8 Models

BMW's delves into new powertrains with two models unveiled at the LA Auto Show.

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Jonathan Lloyd
Take a closer look at two of the more radically designed cars the LA Auto Show -- the BMW i3 and i8.
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BMW unveiled the two electric models at the 2011 LA Auto Show.
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They are the first electronically powered production vehicles from BMW. Pictured, the i8.
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It resembles BMW's EfficientDynamics concept. It's a plug-in hybrid that BMW says can reach 60 mph in an impressive five seconds.
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The car is in "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," and movie star Paula Patton joined BMW of North America President Ludwig Willisch for the unveiling after a few clips from the movie rolled at the BMW display.
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"This car moves like nothing else I've experienced before," Patton said. The car uses a petrol engine and an electric motor, but it's the lightweight design that stands out.
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The car uses composite materials that surround a "life-module" -- aka where the passengers sit.
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BMW expects production by 2014.
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The LifeModule is made of carbon fiber. The DriveModule is the aluminum chassis, which contains the battery, drive system and crash components.
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The 170-hp electric motor is at the rear of the vehicle.
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The 3-cyclinder, 220-hp gas-powered engine is over the front axle.
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BMW expects fuel mileage in the 78 MPG range.
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Together, the motors generate about 390 hp.
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The car can travel about 20 miles on electric power alone.
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BMW also showed off the i3 at the LA Auto Show.
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"The focus is on the needs of urban mobility," Willisch said.
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The i3 concept is expected to travel about 100 miles on a charge.
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It has an electric motor above the rear axle.
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The i3 also makes use of carbon fiber to keep weight down.
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