The i8 is BMW’s second electric vehicle and since launch it has received glowing reports from most motor journalists. This is a sports car that gives similar emissions and fuel consumption of regular compact cars. This is done through an excellent mix of hybrid technology. What makes the BMW i8 even better is that it looks amazing too.
To many people the BMW M3 is a benchmark for great power and speed in a road car. The i8 competes nicely. The turbocharged 3-cylinder engine is teamed to two electric motors that give this vehicle a very powerful 357 bhp. Put your foot to the floor and you will go from 0-100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Moving from 80-120 km/h can be achieved in as little as 3.4 seconds. Bottom line is that the i8 shouldn’t throw up any problems when trying to overtake. The top speed of the vehicle is limited to 250 km/h. If you were to choose to put the foot to the floor in purely electric mode you would achieve a top speed of 120 km/h – this of course would eat much of the battery.
Steering in the i8 is a little light, but at the same time it is accurate and responsive. On straights the i8 really delivers, but cornering at speeds could be improved. However, in normal driving conditions the i8 corners as well as you would expect from a car of this price.
Where you can really feel the thrill from the i8 is when you throw it into “sport” mode and put your foot down. At this point you can feel the electric engine and the 3 cylinder petrol engine cooperating as you watch the speedometer quickly increase.
Refinement comes in various ways to the i8. Firstly, the fact that the two engines work so well together is a great sign. But then take those same engines individually and you have to be impressed by the statistics. Like the i3, the i8 is built from very light carbon fibre materials. Unfortunately using materials like these can result in more road noises getting into the body. Some of the road noise can also be attributed to the 20 inch alloy wheels that come as standard.
The interior is very futuristic in appearance, but actually getting into the vehicle to see it can be awkward. What will surprise customers who opt for this vehicle is that the visibility through the rear is so much more than you would expect from a conventional sports car
High strength carbon materials are used to protect passenger within the i8. This material has been well tested and it is also used to protect the car’s high-voltage battery. The i8 is full of driver aids and assistance systems which are designed to give drivers as safe an environment as possible. The i8 has not been tested yet by the Euro NCAP.
By their very nature sports cars are never overly practical, and the i8 is no different. If you’re looking for practicality to bring the kids to school or football, then perhaps you’re looking at the wrong car.
This car has four seats and despite the fact that most adults would love to sit in one, we don’t think they’d be too thankful if they were put into one of the tiny rear seats. The boot space to the rear is extremely small.