LA Auto Show Live: BMW i3, i8 and the new M5 image

BMW, world’s largest premium automaker at the 2011 LA Auto Show has unveiled its i electric and electric-hybrid vehicles. In addition, the German automaker presented the new M5 sedan.

The BMW i3 and i8 concept vehicles represent the first purpose-built electric and electric-hybrid vehicles to be made primarily of carbon fiber when the cars become available in 2013 and 2014.

Both models are concepts, but the i3 may be on the road by 2013. BMW spokesman Rich Steinberg said the electric models are still BMWs and have great performance.

“This car, with lithium ion-technology as well as carbon fiber, that’s sort of unique that we’ve added to the mix when it comes to electric cars. Carbon fiber is extremely strong, extremely light weight, and it allows this car to perform like a BMW like you would expect,” said Steinberg about the i3 model.

The BMW i8 will be available in 2014, and is a plug-in hybrid. It will travel approximately 20 miles in electric mode, driving the front wheels, before its 220-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine kicks in to drive the rear wheels. Steinberg said the i8 will accelerate to 60 mph in “well under” 6 seconds.

The all-new BMW M5 also made its debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The BMW M5 combines an exceptionally dynamic high-performance sports car with a luxurious business sedan, offering significantly improved efficiency, supreme long-distance comfort and innovative driver assistance systems and infotainment functions.[more about the new M5 at LA Auto Show]