|Trudy Hardy, BMW's marketing vice president, admits getting out of the low-slung i8 hybrid sports car "takes some grace and finesse." I describe it as an ergonomic nightmare that poses a challenge to the dignity of any woman who wears a skirt.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
BMW isn't the biggest automaker in the world, but this year, the company debuted its iBrand -- a plug-in hybrid sports car and a more practical sedan that is available in purely electric form.
It's hard to believe the two cars came from the same engineering department.
And the German automaker seems to have conceded the all-electric luxury market to the Tesla Model S, a big four-door hatchback with a range of 200 miles or more.
The BMW i8 wows you with its performance and super-car sounds, but it's so difficult to get out of you have to conclude it was designed by men exclusively for men.
Hardy wore pants.
She recalled the time on a cross-country trip when she had to change clothes in the back seat of a Mini, another BMW brand.
That experience has helped her deal with the challenging ergonomics of the i8, she said.
At the moment, she said, BMW has no plans to add more models to the iBrand, but is keeping its eye on Tesla as a competitor.
"I thank them every day because they bring awareness to electric vehicles," she said of Tesla.
One publication, Auto Express, calls the Model E a BMW 3 Series fighter.
A second version comes with a security blanket or what the automaker calls a "Range Extender" -- a 2-cylinder gasoline engine with a 2-gallon tank that recharges the battery -- increasing the car's range to 150 miles.
Both versions take 3.5 hours to charge fully.
The all-wheel-drive BMW i8 has an MSRP of $137,500.
|BMW is selling more than 1,000 of its more practical, all-electric i3 sedans each month, Marketing Vice President Trudy Hardy told a monthly gathering of automobile writers in Manhattan today.|