BMW i8 video review

2 May, 2014 11:30am

The BMW i8 is a game-changing hybrid supercar that makes the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 look and feel dated

The BMW i8 can trace its roots back to the Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept from the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

After four years of technical workshops and concepts, BMW confirmed it would build that car and five years later, it arrived in the form of the i8.

The design of the car is absolutely incredible and it's a surprise to see how much of the concept's design that the BMW has managed to keep. There's a really nice cut-out in the bonnet which comes in a contrasting colour to the body and at the back, there are a pair of elegant flying C-Pillars. The most striking feature of the BMW i8, however, is its upward-opening scissor doors.

The BMW i8 is driven by three power-sources. A 129bhp motor driving the front wheels, a 227bhp three-cylinder driving the rears, and another small boosting electric motor, which works as a generator.

The BMW i8 also has a huge battery pack, which allows for 22 miles of range. Surprisingly though, the BMW i8 still weighs 70kg less than an Audi R8, which comes as a result of its high-tech carbon fibre body and aluminium chassis. It can also hit 0-62mph in 4.4-seconds.

Driving on the electric motor, the BMW i8 feels Volkswagen Golf GTI fast, but if you put your foot down while going up a hill, the three-cylinder kicks in. It sounds really good - pretty similar to the throaty six-cylinder in the Porsche 911.

To make the BMW i8 come fully alive, though, you need to put it in 'Sport' mode.

This keeps the turbocharged three-cylinder engine running, as well as the electric motors. The engine sounds even better, and because you've got the electric motor giving you that instant shove, it feels fast. As soon as it starts to get a bit inefficient, the engine kicks in. You might expect a surging, stepped acceleration from the BMW i8, but it's really smooth. 

The BMW i8 is really nice to drive, and what you notice more than anything else, is that it feels really light on its feet. All that carbon fibre really seems to have done the trick.

If you're expecting the BMW i8 to be an M Car, then don't. It's not a big oversteering brute, it's much more clinical than that and gets a character all of its own.

The steering on the BMW i8 is really nice and light, plus you get a really crisp turn-in. When the back tyres are starting to lose traction, the fronts will come in and drag you out thanks to its four-wheel drive system. It's really forgiving, but not quite as sharp as a 911 maybe. However, it's different and it's something immensely likeable.

The BMW i8 comes with a £100,000 price tag - similar to a Porsche 911 or an Audi R8 - but what's amazing is how much tech you get for that.

Obviously there's the carbon-fibre body, three power-trains and four-wheel drive, but there are even options such as laser headlamps.

The BMW i8 makes the Audi R8 and 911 feel a bit old, but the Porsche is still sharper. What's clear though, is that BMW has definitely done enough to keep Audi and all other sports car manufacturers on their toes.

Disqus - noscript

Amazing BMW has produced this marvel, while rivals are talking concepts half as good as this.
In recent times, BMW has leap-frogged all perceived rivals with one great offering after the other.
The i8 offers the best of both worlds, blending super-eco with super-fun. It even growls like a V6!

Its MPG and emissions are worse than the Volvo V60 plug in hybrid estate, so not exactly exactly as special as the video leads you to believe, and the Volvo has a longer pure electric range of 31 miles.

It growls like a V6 because of a synthesised noise being put out through the audio system, and the performance is not exactly that special, and information that have been omitted from every review, how big is the fuel tank, and what is its genuine touring range.

first i8 is so complicated car,full of complex tech and so pricey.I8 can not be quality product with such amount of stuff inside,reilability will be the issue like Tesla (car with one elec.engine which is always on fire)That is the reason why i3 didnt win car of the year award,almost 50 thousand pounds for i3,no thanks.

Off topic I know, but, just like those people who can't write without sticking their tongue out, this guy can't speak without waving his hands in time with his stuttering commentary. Most times he's got one hand on the wheel, occasionally two, and sometimes, for Christ's sake, none. And all the while he's driving someone else's £100k vehicle.
If I was Mr BMW he would never review one of my supercars again: unless he bought it first.

Besides bmw execs buying the car for a rediculous price very few will buy a vehicle with 0-62 in 4.4secs and all the electronic wizardry that we all know will make it a shop queen, especially when it blows a speaker and you can't get that synthetic V6 sound.

Gets me wondering what a next-gen hybrid powerplant would do for the 2016 GT-R!

Please do not be too negative towards others.

Like the vids,definately better than a certain rivals.

You can get the bmw i3 for a lot less than 50 thousand. If you wanted a standard i3 you could get one for as little as £25-26,000. The Tesla had a fundamental floor, in that the battery was not protected enough, the i3 has many layers between the floor of the car and the battery, meaning the i3 can withstand a fair good whack underneath the car before it would even get near the battery. The tech inside the car is very advanced but so are normal petrol and diesel cars, and there aren't that many problems with them.

omg again with the GT-R that car isn't that good all you are paying for is the engine the inside is exactly the same as a 2008 altima. This review and this car have literally nothing to do with a GT-R. Kids these days and their affinity for that car and making it the rival of every other car in the world. It is nice for what it is. But this is a successful MANS car

For me it's all about business. Cold, hard fact;, no-one, except the Veyron ond a few other oddities beat the GT-R's 0-60 time, that, for me, is a true supercar.....

AEX 1330
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