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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Kinsmart BMW i3 and i8



The future is here!  Where ever you look you can see hybrid electric-gas vehicles like the Prius and electric cars like the Tesla Model S.  Even companies that normally don't get into the electric cars are starting to get into them, like Rolls-Royce or BMW, and for a simple reason: for the manufacturers to meet the stringent upcoming fuel economy and emissions requirements.  BMW has developed a new line of cars that are fully or a hybrid vehicle on a new platforms that use carbon fiber for its lighter weight to aid in increased fuel economy, radically stylish looks, and a new naming system: the i-series.  The first two are the city i3 and the M1-like i8 supercar.





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BMW i3

The i3 is the city vehicle for the group designed for small parking spaces, just like the Smart car, but this one has room for four people and is fully electric.  The motor is a 125 kw single motor that produces 168 hp. through a single-speed transmission and all of this is located on the rear axle.  Range anxiety?  Opt for the two-cylinder gas motor generator with 9L gas tank to help charge the batteries and to increase the range.  Two doors on the right-side provide charging (front) and gas (rear) for the vehicle.  the 22 lithium ion batteries are mounted flat on the floor to provide excellent interior space.  The exterior has a resembalance to the Isetta, but at least it has side doors and more room.  The front has the twin kidney grille with silver rings, blue ring BMW logo, projector beam headlights with U-shaped running lights, and foglights attached to the black U-shaped stripe.  The sides show two large doors with pickup-style half-doors at the rear to aid access to the rear seats.  The windows flow wide on the panel doors before narrowing to the rear (a new design feature that is taking notice on modern cars, especially at Nissan) and a lower silver and black stripe at the bottom.







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The rear has U-shaped taillights, rear spoiler with high brake light in center, black roof that also extends to the rear bumper, and i3 badges.  The wheels are six-spoke design that looks rather contemporary than futuristic like the optional 5-spoke wheels.  Black, silver, gray are offered but I like the Solar Orange color the best, and the car is big compared to the i8: it's scale is much larger than the i8.  Underneath there's not much detail to show aside from the frame supports that I added detail to.  Open up the doors to show off the interior with a long dashboard and seating for five people and plenty of room in the cargo area.  I sat in one of these cars at the auto show and I must say it is roomy and not as high-end as other BMW's as I noticed carpet fuzz on areas that you would normally see cloth or leather on other BMW's.  The console is low and features the i-Drive rotor knob and plenty of storage area, yet does not connect to the dashboard.  The steering wheel is a 2-spoke design with controls and the gear selector on the two stalks behind the steering wheel, leading up to the detail digital gauge screen showing the speedometer number and smaller bars for other information about the vehicle.  To the right you can see the center radio and HVAC controls are normal and sit below the large screen in blue with what seems like a map for a navigation system.  These two screens really are the crown jewel of an interior that would otherwise get lost in a sea of black.






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BMW i8

The car that everyone else would enjoy and best remember the M1 supercar of the 1980's would be the i8.  The i8 was constructed from a concept car, appeared in a Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol movie, and now is available for production at a pricetag of about $130,000 dollars (better off with the i3 if you cannot afford it).  The powertrain is vastly different than the i3: it uses a 1.5L DOHC turbocharged I-3 from the new Mini Cooper that produces 230 hp. with the help of an electric motor/generator that can even run in EV mode by itself.  Two more motors at the front also assist in power delivery and generating power for the batteries as well.  The combined power front and rear is 357 hp. through a 7-speed automated manual transmission and lithium-ion battery packs that are located between the front seats.  The extra boost from the electric motors makes this 3-cylinder car on par with other exotic sports cars!  Unfortunately both the base shows nothing from the aero covering and the engine cover hides the engine from the rear window.






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No worries as the exterior design is really a radical piece of art.  The colors are white, silver, blue, and black, and only the blue has no blue accent colors around the vehicle that the other three colors have.  The front has an aggressive stance with laser headlights with U-shaped running light, twin kidney grilles with blue and silver rings, and black bumper tips just ahead of the lower grille.  Black also adorns the hood from the front windshield with the center scoop, while the sides have a lower trim scallop with black and blue accents and on the right-side after the door the gas cap door and on the left side front fender the charging port.  The rear is the extreme part and I give Kinsmart credit from executing this part exceptionally.  The flowing side pillars rake upward and then end at the inner section of the taillights.  They combine with the flared rear fenders with recessed section that creates an airflow channel where the taillights are U-shaped.  Very neat!  As in the i3 the rest of the bumper has black trim surround.




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The wheels are 5-spoke design that is found on the actual production car.  Open the doors to find they swing out and open up.  How cool is that?  Inside the dashboard looks more like every common BMW and not something futuristic like the i3.  The 3-spoke steering wheel has silver accents that I added, along with the silver pedals, dash trim accents with center controls and screen, shifter, and console familiar with other BMW products.  The only thing not common with other BMW's are the gauges and center screen that are geared to show more information about the car's power transfer and charging rate and the seats with a pattern that contours with the side bolsters.





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Both are unordinary BMW's and that may be a good thing or bad thing depending on your point of view, but they are both stylish and interesting ways of pointing to the future.



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