BMW i8; more like innovation disguised as a sports car hit the market in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and the plug-in hybrid performance car hasn’t changed much since then. While it’s not meant to be your high volume car, it certainly isn’t your average hybrid.
With a gorgeous exterior, three power sources and a chassis willing to dive into turns, it certainly redefines the concept of hybrid. Yet, what smothers all this is the outrageous price tag, making you think is it really worth it?
But guess what, we just made your decision to buy the monster easy. A little insight to what the i8 has in store for you;
Under the Hood
The car is designed to look like some F1 type sports car, and to live up to its exterior exuberance, it does exactly what a sports car does, with a slight twist though. The innovative electric motor which sits on the front axle and the TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder engine, which drives the rear axle, gives the little Monster, 357 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. This allows the car to reach from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
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Total driving range is 330 miles and the EPA gives the i8 an MPGe rating of 76 in hybrid mode or 28 miles per gallon combined using just the gasoline engine. And the best part is that you don’t need to go visit a charging station.
The car has an in-built generator to do the task; the gas engine and the regenerative brake system capture the energy. Hence, saving you from the mundane task of visiting the charging stations. Nevertheless you can charge it, depends upon on the mood!
As a plug-in hybrid with eDrive, comfort is great for toddling around town or you can go all-electric in eDrive.
Somewhat Techy Interior
Apart from the savvy eDrive, the interior holds some features worth grabbing your attention. The four driving modes allow you to drive the thing depending on your mood and path. The Driver Experience Control, on the center of the console offers these driving modes. In order to get a balance between sporty performance and fuel efficiency, choose the standard Comfort mode.
The Sport mode on the other hand fulfils the adrenaline rush cravings, providing the ultra-intense boost function from the electric motor.
To experience an optimized and efficient driving style go for the ECO PRO mode. This can be used in both electric and hybrid modes. Finally, eDRIVE mode is purely electric, offering a max range of up to 15 miles and a max speed of 75 mph for a totally tailpipe emission-free ride.
The navigation system is quite handy, where one can speak out the desired location, or simply write it down on the touch sensitive pads. The voice recognition and handwriting recognition make this feature worth trying. iDrive infotainment allows a number of third party Apps, but that’s pretty much what you get as far as the tech in the interior is concerned.
Although competing with Acura NSX and Audi R8, i8 does not offer much driver assistant options. Although the design seems like something from the far future, only thing you get behind the wheel is the good old forward collision warning and gauge cluster that puts your speed front and center.
Considering the car is a hybrid, these features are cutting edge, but the price they charge demands much more than a warn for a collision.
Apart from the tech, the interior is quite comfy though the car is a double door there is this backseat, which can give space to carry stuff for two on a ride. All while offering near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution plus, lightweight materials in the construction help make this plug-in hybrid vehicle as aerodynamic and sporty as possible.
Its two-part structure uses aluminum and Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) for their rigidity and extreme lightness as opposed to steel. After all, BMW drew much attention to the i8’s carbonfibre-reinforced plastic passenger cell, its lightweight aluminum sub frames and thermoplastic panels.
On a glimpse, the hybrid is all about the ultramodern exterior. The long wheelbase, short overhangs, precise lines, and sweeping silhouette give the appearance that the BMW i8 is surging forward even when it is standing still.
The scissor doors of the BMW i8 provide an undeniable emotional and sporty allure that make it truly one-of-a-kind (though not very useful if thought from the utility sense, because getting in and out is not really that easy).
From front to back, the BMW i8 is dedicated to reducing drag. The streamflow design of the vehicle’s rear wing provides significant downforce all the way up to its top speed of 155 mph.
EfficientDynamic technology allows vents to open and close to offer cooling, further reduce drag coefficient, and improve the vehicle’s overall aerodynamics while the front Air Curtains channel airflow through the back vents to cool the TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder engine.
The laser headlights are somewhat attention grabbing, being the first US car to be equipped with laser headlights (pure-white light beams). The lights are a catchy feature and although 1000 times more intense than LED, the laser is way more efficient.
BMW split the difference when designing the i8’s fuel ports, with the electric charging port located on the front driver’s-side fender and the fuel door on the rear-passenger’s-side panel. Both ports lock with the main doors at the touch of a key-fob button.
All in all its design details are unlike anything else on the road today. And we believe, it is one of the most stunning and original designs on the road, so far.
With some pretty good stuff under the hood and the a class apart hybrid features, the car is something to add to your wish list for, the six figure price it demands is something not fair to be honest. And the lack of driver’s aids plus the slow rolling off the line makes one craving for the speed go back to the petrol/diesel engines!