New spy shots of the BMW i8 testing in China. This particular test car has been riding the roads of Beijing for a while. Earlier on we met it in the suburbs and this time it seems to be in the center of town. The BMW i8 will be launched on the China car market in early 2014 and BMW apparently wants to make sure it behaves well on Chinese roads.
Note red emergency button, typical in test cars. Pressing it will switch off all electrical systems and thus the vehicle. Function of red tape under start button unclear.
The BMW i8 is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to an electric motor, good for a combined output of 357hp and 570nm. Top speed will be limited to 250km/h and 0-100 will be gone in 4.9 seconds.
The arrival of the i8 is already hotly anticipated. Chinese car buyers are willing to pay a fat premium for a hybrid car when the badge and package are right. The Lexus CT 200h for example is a great success, but the Prius is a giant fail. The BMW-badge, the high tech, and the sporty credentials will most likely make the i8 a winner here. BMW will also launch the i3 in China.