Hybrid Heaven in The BMW i8
Imagine a car that can achieve a combined consumption of 134.5mpg, hit 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and look like a vision of your dream sports car. Welcome to the BMW i8.
Yes, I think the BMW i8 is visually one of the most stunning cars on the market so lets start with the exterior. BMW clearly went all out here, and judging by the sporty front bumper the car means business. From the kidney grille and narrow lights, the lines flow beautifully around the body to the rear arches. The car just demands attention. To top it off, when you pull up and open the door they certainly don’t go sideways but directly upwards with their butterfly mechanism. The alien-like rear lights look as if they are hovering between the body work and the 20” alloy wheels just give it that balance and finish. The car is a 10/10 looker and that is without doubt. You will notice the same because those camera’s certainly come out when you go for a spin. Make sure to smile.
Moving on to the drive…
So this car, as you may already know is a hybrid. That means it runs from both a petrol engine and an electric motor. In this case we have a 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine (228bhp) and a 96kw Electric Motor (129 bhp) that have been cleverly engineered to work in perfect harmony. 0-60 as mentioned above is achievable in 4.4 seconds and the top speed is set at 155mph. Impressive?
Driving the BMW i8 is pleasurable to say the least and heres why. Relatively light for a sports car of its calibre, 1,485kg is nothing short of a slim Bimmer, which added to almost instant torque from the electric motor delivers great driving pleasure when you want it and precise steering too. The i8 definitely feels faster then a 4.4 second car. Handling is what surprises me the most because even though the car doesn’t deliver R8 or 911 acceleration for example, it is more then capable of similar agility and cornering. It has its own feel and character but it is both engaging and quick enough to take around a track as we did with BMW on Goodwood Race Circuit earlier this year. When in sports mode and the engine wakes, the noise is dialled up (artificially engineered noise) and gear shifts are pretty quick (not M2 DCT quick) but it becomes much more fun. The car feels sturdy, locked down and precise and the best part is… you are charging your batteries. Honestly guys.
The interior is simply stunning, especially by night. The blue mood lighting just screams, “Look at me, I’m the future!” plus the finish and textures of each part of the car are quality; aluminium, carbon fibre and leather all play their part gracefully creating one of the sexiest cockpits. You sit low in the chassis with a great driving position and good access to all controls.
Practically it’s not the best if you need to take the family out for a picnic, but I would consider not putting humans in the back seats unless they are tiny, but instead using that for storage. The trunk has ample space for a weekend duffle and a few extra bits and bobs but don’t expect to fit a week of grocery shopping in there.
At the end of the day, this is a step in the right direction for motorists. Performance is there as well as everyday usability and good looks but it’s the economy of the car that makes it all even better. I found myself getting around 40-55mpg and was driving as you would expect me to. Even that compared to a petrol equivalent is a great step forward. If you are feather footed and plug in overnight to charge, you are looking at hitting upwards of 120mpg, which is result of incredible engineering. The car is easy to live with and easy to drive. More information on the BMW i8 over at the official site, BMW.