Altogether, the i100 should put out nearly 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Lithium-ion batteries to power the electric motors will be tucked away in the center backbone and near the firewall. The plug-in hybrid version of the i100 is said to offer a zero-emissions driving range of ten to thirty miles, depending on conditions.
The M100 ditches the batteries and minicars. In fact, the i100 and the M100 are a big reason why Project i needed to have a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. By moving the engine as close as possible to the rear wheels, BMW's packaging wizards created something most sports cars cannot offer: two usable, if not quite commodious, rear seats. Access to the second row shouldn't be a major issue, as the production car will feature the gull-wing doors from the 2009 Frankfurt show concept car. To stow a limited quantity of front motors but will still get an electric boost via supercapacitors. The supercapacitors, which are smaller and lighter than batteries, can store surplus energy from regenerative braking and then send it to the rear wheels to support full-throttle takeoff and passing maneuvers.
The M100 should be the fastest M car ever. In all likelihood, it will also be the most expensive. Prices are expected to start at about $225,000, with the i100 coming in at a more reasonable, but still very dear, $125,000 or so.
VOICE FROM THE INSIDE:
"We believe it makes sense to forge a link between our superfrugal city car and our high-performance sports car. By doing so, we define a terrain that offers plenty of opportunities for future in-between offerings."
BMW's internal name for the M100 project. It was originally referred to as "444," until someone pointed out that in the Nazi era this stood for "Germany to the Germans!" The new code name shouldn't offend anyone, but it might confuse Oldsmobile owners and soccer fans.