Videos

BMW i8 vs BMW M1 video track battle

We bring two BMW supercars together on the track - the new i8 and the classic M1

BMW i8 vs M1

The new BMW i8 is a futuristic stunner, with a hi-tech duo of an electric motor and petrol engine from the MINI Cooper. Jump back more than three decades and the last mid-engined car to wear a BMW badge was the M1 - which turned just as many heads when it debuted in 1978. 

To find out how thirty years of evolution has changed the BMW supercar, we took along a classic M1 to meet the new i8 at the Auto Express test track. The BMW i8 features a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol from the MINI Cooper driving the rear wheels, while an electric motor drives the front. Under the engine cover of the M1 is something altogether much more traditional: a 3.5-litre six-cylinder unit putting out 277bhp and 330Nm of torque. This compares to 357bhp and 570Nm in the i8. 

On the track, the two cars feel very different. We didn't push the M1 too hard due to its age and value - mint examples fetch around £400,000 - but it performed brilliantly around our track. The gearbox has lovely action, the steering is perfectly weighted and the chassis feels perfectly matched to the power on tap. 

Jump into the i8 and it feels very futuristic. There's instant power on tap due to the combination of the electric motor and the engine in Sport mode, with a great soundtrack in the cabin - it's even reminiscent of the sound of the M1. There's plenty of grip, too, and the performance is great. It's rather special and doesn't feel like any other BMW. 

Both the i8 and M1 are true BMWs at heart. It's not often that BMW breaks the mould and builds a mid-engined car, but when they do, they know how to make their mark.

Most Popular

Citroen Ami on sale in the UK this summer from £7,695
Citroen Ami UK - front static
Citroen Ami

Citroen Ami on sale in the UK this summer from £7,695

The compact quadricycle is pricier than first thought, but the Citroen Ami will still be the UK’s cheapest ‘car’
24 May 2022
New Mercedes T-Class 2022 review
Mercedes T-Class - front
Mercedes T-Class

New Mercedes T-Class 2022 review

The Mercedes T-Class tempts van-based MPV buyers with the chance to take a step up in perceived quality - but will they take the bait?
24 May 2022
New Maxus T90EV is first electric pick-up truck on sale in the UK
Maxus T90EV - orange truck static
News

New Maxus T90EV is first electric pick-up truck on sale in the UK

Chinese firm Maxus introduces the T90EV, the UK's first electric pick-up truck, with a 198-mile WLTP city range
24 May 2022