Ahead of the official show launch of the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sportscar, BMW have released select details about the car and it’s features.
What does an i8 have in common with your mobile phone? Well, apart from it’s interconnectivity capabilities using BMW apps allowing owners to see status updates of their car, the BMW i8 will be the first production vehicle to feature chemically hardened glass.
As anyone with a phone featuring armoured glass will tell you, it is the magic barrier between clumsy thumbs and delicate liquid crystal displays on touch screen mobile phones. Essentially, it is normal silicon dioxide glass that has been chemically altered to give outstanding properties in respect of wear and tear – or armoured, if you prefer.
Though images of BMW Bond cars spring to mind, deflecting bullets and saving the day (or being cut in half after 5 minutes in the case of a BMW Z8 – The World is Not Enough) unfortunately BMW has not armoured their svelte new sports car. Instead, they have used it in the partition between occupants and the boot.
The chemically enhanced glass results in very high strength yet remaining incredibly thin at just 0.7mm per sheet. Two layers of glass are used, sandwiching between them a sound deadening material. All this provides excellent acoustic properties and around 50% less weight when compared with conventional laminated glass.
It’s a shame that the hardened glass has not extended to being used on side windows for example, which may have meant for better security and less weight too, and despite an early concept of the BMW i8 appearing in the last Mission Impossible film, we doubt very much any bullet proof properties will be put to the test.