BMW i8 Concept Spyder revealed

* BMW i8 Concept Spyder * Drop-top version of i8 hybrid supercar * Production model due in 2014...

BMW i8 Concept Spyder revealed

The BMW i8 Concept Spyder has been revealed ahead of its expected debut at the Beijing motor show later this month.

The i8 Concept Spyder is an open-top version of the BMW i8 concept car, a hybrid-powered supercar that made its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. That car, in turn, was developed from the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics that was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt show.

Although the i8 Concept Spyder shares many of its body panels with the i8, it has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length, and has a new engine cover and panel at the rear.

The roof area is open BMW says therell be a two-section folding roof to keep out the elements, but this isnt visible on the concept car. The i8 Spyders doors have the same upward-swivelling action as the i8, but the upper section is solid, rather than transparent.

The i8 Concept Spyder has the same plug-in hybrid as the i8. A 129bhp electric motor drives the front wheels; it works in tandem with a 220bhp three-cylinder petrol engine to give a combined output of 349bhp and 406lb ft of torque.

With a full battery charge, the electric motor can power the i8 Spyder for up to 19 miles; fully charging it from empty takes less than two hours.

BMW quotes a 0-62mph time of five seconds, a top speed limited to 155mph and average fuel economy of 94mpg.

A production version of the i8 is due on sale in 2014.

Leo Wilkinson