BMW i8 Review

BMW i8 Review

Filed under Car Reviews

BMW i8 Aggregated Reviews

C Net: 8/10
Top Gear: 9/10
Auto Express: 8/10
Car Advice: 8.5/10
Car and Driver: 8/10
Combined total score: 8.3/10

We love:

  • Clever design and futuristic outlook
  • Innovative drivetrain with real results
  • Wing shaped doors
  • Use of carbon fibre

Pain points:

  • Putting an exhaust 'speaker' on an electric car
  • Handling on twisting roads, braking feedback needs tuning
  • Price

BMW i8 review

Though this car is now three years old, it's still totally futuristic. The BMW i8 is totally unique, and absolutely guaranteed to turn heads as it looks like something from a sci-fi film. In fact, an earlier prototype of BMW i8 featured in Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011).

Exterior of the BMW i8

The passenger cell is made of resin-injected carbon-fibre reinforced plastic that protects passengers as well as the high-voltage battery that's found between the two sides of the drive module. Panels are made from ding and corrosion proof thermoplastic.

BMW i8 Wing Doors

Distinctive, albeit impractical, wing doors - image courtesy of Car Advice

The scissor doors look super-cool, but they do make getting in and out of the car pretty tricky. You'll have to twist and contort to get in, but once you do you're in the centre of creature comfort.

Sharp looking alloy wheels feature the BMW badge in the centre and give the impression that the tyres are spinning backwards when in motion. Tyres are fairly expensive to replace, so it's just as well that tyre pressure monitoring lets the driver know if there's a slow leak so you can fix it before it becomes a disaster.

Inside the BMW i8

With a combustion engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack the BMW i8 still weighs in at under 1,600 kilograms. The driving position is low and long, as you expect in a sports car.

Once you do get inside, you'll be rewarded with cabin pre-heating or cooling activated from the BMW remote app, ensuring that you'll never burn your fingers on the steering wheel. Front seats are heated for cold winter days.

In the drive seat of the i8

In the driver's seat of the i8 - image courtesy of Car Advice

The boot is tiny with just 154 litres (still slightly larger than a Porsche 911), and the A-pillars obstruct vision a bit, but otherwise the driving position is comfortable, with the grey interior comfortable once you navigate the entry. Plus you have got the back seats to use as luggage space if you need a bit more.

Connectivity

As a concept sports car, the BMW i8's entertainment system isn't the first priority, but it delivers a surprisingly high-quality experience with DAB+ radio, Bluetooth, and USB via an 8.8-inch media system display as well as a 360 degrees reversing camera and heads-up display for the driver. The optional Harmon Kardon sound system upgrade is totally worthwhile too.

What's it like to drive a BMW i8?

On purely electric power you can travel up to 120km/h. It does this using second part of the powertrain, a two-speed automatic transmission connecting to the front-mounted electric motor which works in harmony with the primary engine and gearbox to allow the electric motor to employ its full power output for higher road speeds.

A paddle shifter lets you choose when to change gears, and maintenance requirements are pretty minimal for a high-end hybrid sports car. The fuel tank only holds 42L so if you're running on fuel rather than electricity, you'll need to stop often.

BMW i8 from behind under city lights

Rear view - BMW i8 image courtesy of Car Advice.

Raw speed in the i8 is unparalleled. It outpaces both the Porsche 911 and the Jaguar hybrid supercar with acceleration from 80 kilometres an hour to 115 kilometres an hour in 3.3 seconds while in fifth gear. Then, if you want to save electric power for puttering around town, choose Sport mode and you can run 100 per cent on the engine to top up and hold the battery charge.

Who's the BMW i8 for?

If you've got deep pockets and a flair for science fiction, you can't go wrong with the BMW i8. Yoga classes might make it easier for you to get in and out of the car in tight car park situations.

You'll enjoy owning this intriguing car especially if you have a shorter commute to make use of the all-electric drive. Even the Rose Bay NSW police are making the commitment to the concept of the future with this eye-catching sports car.

Feature summary

Price: $298,955

Engine: 1.5L turbocharged petrol tri-cylinder (similar to the engine in a Mini Cooper), plus 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery and high output starter-generator electric motor.

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Wheels: Aerodynamically profiled 20-inch alloy 'The Style 470'

Safety: 5 star ANCAP

Fuel: 2.1L/100km

Emissions: 49g/km

AV and tech: 8.8-inch media display

Seats: 4

Doors: 3

You can finance a BMW i8 from $1,500/week*, get a quick quote to find out exactly what it will cost to embrace your true style.

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