Electrifying BMW i8 Review
There’s no denying it, or even attempting to hide it, the BMW i8 is quite literally one of the most desirable hybrid automotive creations to ever have come to fruition, it quite literally laid the seed for a whole new segment of quick and economical hybrid based sports cars that offer big head-turning thrills, but don’t break the bank.
First teased in 2009, the BMW i8 was interpreted by many as a finger in the wind concept that probably wouldn’t lead to a production model. However, a production iteration came to fruition and is selling well. In fact, it’s proving so popular that production has now been doubled to 20 units per day.
That stepping up of production came amid reports that would-be owners were having to enter an 18 month waiting list in order to obtain a factory fresh i8, though other put the waiting time at just four months. Meanwhile, the used car market saw some pre-owned i8’s fetching up to 50 per cent more than their original list price.
Highly sought after, the i8 hybrid is equipped with a single electric motor that drives the two front wheels and kicks out 129hp, to the rear there’s also a 228hp developing 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Combined, the power set-up makes for some pretty serious fun, but with the economy of your average family-car. Talking of performance, the i8 is electrifyingly quick, with a 0 to 60 sprint taking just 4.4 seconds, it would leave a Porsche 911 Carrera lagging in its wake. The car goes on to a top speed of 155mph.
That performance is helped by the fact that the i8 makes extensive use of carbon fibre, though given the cost of such a material, it will have undoubtedly been a key contributing factor in the somewhat steep on the road price. Overall the i8 weights just 1.5 tonnes, that’s substantially less than a 911 Turbo and the 2015 Corvette.
Range wise, the i8 is built to cover distance, squeezing 1242 miles out of a single tank. Meanwhile, fuel economy comes in at 134mpg when set to the Eco Pro mode, this can drop to just 44mpg outside of that mode. Those opting for the i8 will also be pleased to hear of its band A road tax classification, meaning there’e nothing to pay here. That said, if you can afford the £104.540 price tag, a couple of hundred pounds a year on road tax wouldn’t have been a deal breaker.
In addition, the aforementioned electric motor is one that can power the vehicle by itself, albeit for a distance of just 23 miles. Meanwhile, storage of the power required by that motor is conveniently concealed along the spine of the vehicle and can be replenished in one of three ways, deepening on the which mode the car is in.
Firstly, the i8 can be charged via the petrol engine, secondly the innovative regenerative braking system and finally via a charging station, either a free standing unit like those fitted in some supermarket car parks or a home based unit.
Internally, the i8’s sci-fi inspired cabin is equipped with two sports seats, there’s two more to the rear, although if you’re six feet tall or struggle with cramped and confined spaces, you’ve got no chance. In all honesty it would have worked better as a two seater. Talking of space, the boots isn’t good for much either.
Looks wise, the BMW i8 is every bit space age. With a super wide, unique, sleek and stylish physique that’s available in a choice of six exterior paint jobs and five interior colours, it’s almost as if it belongs in the future. Adding further to its unmistakable presence is a set of four, five spoke alloy rims and a pair of perfectly formed scissor doors.