Autocar Tests BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car
Autocar recently tested one of the two Formula E safety cars – the BMW i8, which turns out to also serve as a test bed for the upcoming (and updated) version of the BMW plug-in sportscar in 2017.
There are no official details, but according to the Autocar, we can state that the special i8 is equipped with a larger battery pack borrowed from the X5 xDrive40e (we assume 9 kWh instead 7.1 kWh).
Additionally, the whole drivetrain is upgraded and offer more power (both the gasoline engine and the front electric motor get a boost).
BMW used enabled 7.2 kW wireless charging form Qualcomm (up from the previous 3.6 kW) and added a rear view camera. 7.2 kW wireless charging will likely be offered as an option in the production model.
The Formula E safety car is of course also modified for track use – so not all the improvements and changes will be transferred into the production model, but clearly both more kWhs and kWs are on the table.
“The steering is more heavily weighted, and with an upgraded wheel and tyre package, the electro-mechanical system delivers considerably more feedback than you get in the road car. With all the various suspension tweaks, including a 10mm reduction in ride height, it’s a lot firmer and there’s also less body roll.”
“Best of all, though, are the upgraded brakes. The i8 Safety Car is fitted with AP Racing calipers and special race-grade pads, which provide far more stopping power than the i8 is ever likely to require out on the road. Pedal feel is also improved, providing the driver with greater confidence under hard braking into tight corners.”