The plug-in hybrid drive system powering the BMW i8 has won its class – for units with 1.4-litre to 1.8-litre displacement – in the International Engine of the Year Award for the fourth year in succession.

The BMW i8 came into the market in 2014 and has topped its category in the prestigious competition every year since. The plug-in-hybrid drive system’s latest success demonstrates how far it remains ahead of the competition, still standing as the world’s highest-selling plug-in hybrid sports car ever since its market launch. The BMW i3 and i8 stand at opposite ends of the BMW Group model spectrum as an expression of what is reasonably achievable today; and now their technology is being rolled out across BMW’s core models.

BMW i8 Engine

The recently updated BMW i8 combines sports-car performance with the fuel consumption normally expected of smaller models. The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 170kW / 231hp and drives the rear wheels. The electric motor – whose output has been raised to 105kW / 143hp – sources its energy from a lithium-ion battery (which can be charged from a conventional domestic power socket) and channels the power it generates to the front axle.

This model-specific plug-in hybrid system developed and produced by the BMW Group enables all-electric driving with a range now increased to a maximum 34 miles in the EU test cycle. The combination of an electric motor at the front axle and combustion engine at the rear creates all-wheel drive, keeping the car firmly on the road.

BMW i8 Roadster and Coupé

The more powerful of the two drive sources powers the rear wheels and teams up with the hybrid system’s electric boost to deliver the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned, plus trailblazing efficiency. The i8 needs just 4.4 seconds to sprint from 0 to 62 mph.

This year marks the 20th edition of the International Engine of the Year Award. Over the course of the award’s history, engines developed for BMW Group brand models have notched up a total of 69 class and overall wins. An independent jury of experts identifies the best power units in a variety of categories. This year, the jury was made up of 70 automotive journalists from 31 countries.

BMW i8 Roadster dihedral doors

Find out more about the BMW i8 Coupé and BMW i8 Roadster.

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