The exciting BMW i8 hybrid sports car has just been launched in China and locally, starts at 1.988 million. Converted into U.S. dollars, that translates into $323,000!

To put that price tag into perspective, the i8 starts at $135,700 in the U.S. and the hiked up prices just show how expensive cars in China are. Last month however, we learnt that Chinese regulators were beginning to pay attention to high prices and found Mercedes-Benz guilty of price fixing in relation to the high cost of Mercedes spare parts.

It remains unclear just how many examples of the i8 BMW hopes to ship to China. Whatever the number however, there’s a good chance that all examples will sell out quite quickly.

The BMW i8 is of course the second model from BMW’s new BMW i-Series. It is intended as a sports car and provides a forward-looking, revolutionary interpretation of BMW’s hallmark driving experience. It is a 2+2-seater with a design that BMW refer to as LifeDrive architecture. It gets a “life module” passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), as you would expect from any premium sports car. Total weight is just 1,490 kg, bearing in mind the plug-in hybrid architecture.

The production-spec i8 was of course revealed to the public last year at the Frankfurt Auto Show with production commencing in April. The drive system utilises a brand new three-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. From 1.5 litres, the i8 manages an output of 231 hp, a maximum torque of 320 Nm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. The petrol engine is supplemented by an electric motor with an output of 131 hp and maximum torque of 250 Nm. The power from this lithium-ion high-voltage battery is channelled through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.

The combinations mean that the BMW i8 is able to produce 362 hp maximum power and 570 Nm of torque. Performance is 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds with both engine and electric motor engaged. The BMW i8 manages economy figures of 2.5 litres per 100 km or 113 mpg in imperial measurements.

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