Advertisement
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. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/bmw/i8
BMW i8 Coupe - front
BMW i8

BMW i8 review

It’s hardly cheap to buy, but the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 offers performance and efficiency
25 Mar 2020
Visit/bmw/i8/107160/new-bmw-vision-m-next-shown-at-frankfurt-motor-show
BMW M NEXT Concept - front
BMW i8

New BMW Vision M NEXT shown at Frankfurt Motor Show

The BMW Vision M NEXT hits Frankfurt with 592bhp and an all-electric range of 62 miles
10 Sep 2019
Visit/bmw/i8/107807/bmw-i8-ultimate-sophisto-edition-means-curtains-for-the-hybrid-supercar
BMW i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition - front
BMW i8

BMW i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition means curtains for the i8

The BMW i8 will be discontinued in April 2020 and to mark the occasion BMW has built a special edition, limited to just 200 units globally
4 Sep 2019

Most Popular

Visit/mazda/mx-5/352010/new-mazda-mx-5-2020-review
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 2020 review

The popular Mazda MX-5 has been updated for 2020, but with the changes comes a jump in price
5 Apr 2020
Visit/ford/352021/ford-offers-six-month-payment-holiday-new-customers
Ford

Ford offers six-month payment holiday for new customers

Anyone buying a new Ford on finance in April or May won’t have to pay anything for six months; online Ford dealerships still open
7 Apr 2020
Visit/volkswagen/tiguan/352025/facelifted-volkswagen-tiguan-spotted-testing-undisguised
Volkswagen Tiguan

Facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan spotted testing undisguised

The updated Volkswagen Tiguan will go on sale later this year, with a new PHEV powertrain and fresh panelling inspired by the Golf hatchback
7 Apr 2020