BMW i8

BMW i8
BMW has created a hyper-specialised niche with its new electric supercar; it’s advanced, extravagant, fluent, fast and frugal – but it’s just not as fun as a £100k 911 rival should be

The BMW i8 is the zen-like, sustainable, low-emissions, petrol-electric, ‘new premium’ German sports car of the future.Expressions of concept don’t get much more complicated. But, while the two most important words in that string get crowded out by their louder neighbours, they are undoubtedly ‘sports car’. Or rather they should have been – written in bold, enlarged, indelible type.Unfortunately – predictably, perhaps – that probably wasn’t quite how it was. Because the i8 turns out to be a car of incredible visual impact, laudably mature execution, and offers a uniquely appealing ownership proposition – much like the BMW i3.But drive it and you won’t be acquainting yourself with the undeniable perfect future of the sports car – but instead a £100,000 BMW that doesn’t deliver the engaging edge an enthusiast might expect.BMW’s new i8 should ultimately be like a Porsche 918 Spyder for a fifth of the outlay. It’s certainly got some promising ingredients.The 1.5-litre turbochared three-cylinder Mini Cooper engine cradled between the i8’s back wheels has a higher specific output than any production combustion engine that BMW currently makes, feeding 228bhp and 236lb ft to the rear wheels of the car via a 6-speed ZF automatic transmission. Between the front wheels there’s a 128bhp, 184lb ft ‘hybrid synchronous’ electric motor, driving those front wheels through a two-speed automatic transmission.

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