BMW’s striking i8 Coupe was a highly anticipated development. From a concept car to a full road-going production model, this was BMW’s first attempt at developing a fast sports car with advanced plug-in hybrid technology. Indeed, the i8 was to become the flagship for its new efficiency I range. The design became the main talking point of the i8 and was out of his world. Almost eight years after its launch, the ground-breaking design of the i8 still turns heads today.
Its unveiling in 2014 at the Frankfurt Motor Show stunned the automotive world with its cutting-edge design and mid-engine configuration. BMW demonstrated how far behind the industry was in producing sporty and attractive hybrid vehicles. Moreover, the innovative design was a masterclass in aerodynamics. With all its complex tech, the trailblazing BMW combined emission-free mobility with high performance, adding ‘eco-friendliness’ to supercar driving.
Not only did the BMW i8 become the world’s bestselling hybrid sports car, but it also achieved several awards for its revolutionary design and concept. What’s more, BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid drive system won the International Engine Of The Year Award for three consecutive years between 2015 and 2017.
A stunning roadster variant of the i8 followed in 2018, receiving an increased dose of power. BMW sold just over 20,000 units of the i8 worldwide before ending production in 2020. With rumors of a successor still not definite, the iconic BMW i8 is, without a doubt, set to become a future classic.
The BMW i8 Had Electrifying Performance
The BMW i8 comes with a 1.5, three-cylinder turbocharged motor situated at the back of the car and an electric motor at the front, both churning out 231 horsepower and 131 horsepower respectively. This equates to a total power output of 362 horsepower and an impressive 420 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. The combustion engine transfers power to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, while the electric motor propels the front wheels via a two-speed auto box. BMW labels this as a ‘Hybrid Specific All-Wheel Drive System’
The massive torque boost from the electric motor catapults the i8 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and tops out at 155 mph. However, it boasts an impressive ‘real world’ combined economy of 40 MPG, though far from BMW’s somewhat optimistic claims on paper. No doubt, the i8 succeeded in delivering the performance of a supercar with the running costs of a small city car. Weighing 3200 pounds, the i8 uses intelligent lightweight construction and architecture that ensures perfect weight distribution.
The BMW i8 is a pioneering design concept with an emphasis on efficiency. Although it encompasses all the hallmarks of a supercar, it was never intended to be a drift machine nor set out to achieve a sub-seven-minute lap of the Nordschleife like the Porsche 918 Spyder. Granted, the i8 is not as satisfying to drive as some sports cars. However, it has enough agility, balance, and electrifying straight-line performance to keep up with a 911 Carrera. The only anomaly in the formula is the steering, which lacks feedback.
The Design Of The i8 Was Out Of This World
No doubt, the i8 is all about aerodynamics. It’s true to say, there’s nothing quite like it on the road. Indeed, the i8’s design language was heavily influenced by the BMW M1 Hommage Concept Car. The design is a fusion of complex surfaces, contrasting colors, and sharp distinctive creases.
What’s more, the attention to detail and the skillful execution of shapes are impressive, like the intricate design around the brake lights. Then you have the stunning dihedral doors that add to the theater.
The i8 uses a lightweight structure made from a combination of aluminum, carbon fiber, and thermal plastics. Moreover, the short overhangs, 20-inch alloys, and wide body provide an aggressive stance.
Arguably, the i8 roadster variant is the better looking of the two.
The Futuristic Design Flowed into The Cabin
The futuristic styling flows into the cabin of the i8 with unique, futuristic touches, comfortable seats, and a stylish dashboard. What’s more, it’s well-equipped with the latest tech. No surprise, the i8 shares most of its switchgear with other BMW models, lower in the range.
However, the digital speedometer and tachometer provide clear information. Furthermore, the i8 also benefits from rear seats, which are more suitable for small children or best used as extra luggage space. With a 154-liter rear cargo hatch, space is somewhat lacking, with just enough room for a small travel bag.
In addition, stepping in and out of the car requires a different rhythm of movement from a conventional sports car. This is mainly due to the angle of the scissor doors and the low seating position.
The BMW i8 Is A Flawed Super Sports Car
Despite the i8’s loyal following, many considered the BMW i8 a commercial failure. Some may argue, the BMW i8 was well ahead of its time and the global market was simply not ready for this futuristic machine. Then there was the hefty price tag of $150,000, which many considered too much for a three-cylinder hybrid sports car, hence suffering monumental depreciation.
Regardless of its flaws, the BMW i8 is an impressive sports car with cutting-edge technology, speed, and a stunning design that will, no doubt, still turn heads in years to come. A future Classic!