In-depth reviews

BMW i8 (2014-2020) review - Reliability and safety

Not tested by Euro NCAP but the technology and construction make this a very safe car, while BMW parts offer reliability

With such a lot of new technology on board it’s tempting to be cautious about the i8’s reliability. To help put your mind at ease though, the basic layout of this three-cylinder engine has already been seen in the latest MINI line-up, plus BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, and much of the switchgear will be familiar to BMW owners.

BMW finished 25th out of 30 car manufacturers in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, which suggests there’s room for improvement – though the i8 itself didn’t feature in the survey.  BMW owners were impressed with interior build quality and their cars’ powertrains, but 22.3 per cent of those surveyed reported faults with their cars.

Electric motors are, on the whole, very reliable because of their relative lack of moving parts, while the regeneration from the motor puts less strain on the brake pads over time.

The i8 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP and never will be because of its expense and relative rarity, but you should expect it to offer excellent safety. Its carbon fibre body and CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) body shell are super-strong, while front, side and curtain airbags are fitted as standard. The battery is also well protected by a crash structure.

It comes with ESP and traction control, and a standard head-up display helps keep the driver focused on the road at all times. LED headlights, also standard equipment, are as close to actual daylight as headlights come, reducing eye fatigue during nighttime driving.  

A Driver Assistance pack is a cost option, giving the i8 low speed automatic braking and blind spot detection. 

Warranty

The i8 is covered by BMW’s three-year unlimited mileage warranty, which matches that of the Porsche 911, while the Audi R8’s expires at 60,000 miles. And for extra peace of mind BMW covers the battery pack with a comprehensive eight-year or 100,000 miles warranty.

Servicing

BMW says repair costs are normal for the class – albeit that class being the £100,000-plus sports car class – despite the high-tech construction. And the i8 can be purchased with BMW’s Service Inclusive fixed price servicing plan, which at least keeps costs in check.  

However, only a select number of BMW dealerships are specialist ‘i’ sales and service centres, so it may be you have to travel further than your local dealer for service or repairs.   

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