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BMW i8 - Revolutionary. A very special TOPCAR


Many people will remember the classic 1985 films “Back to the future” parts I and II. The films are based around a young kid, Marty McFly being sent into the past and future in his time traveling DeLorean. With its gullwing doors, and brushed stainless steel bodywork it looked like the car of the future. Sadly, underneath it was quite a basic car with a wheezy 145bhp Renault engine. Some 30 years on, BMW have launched the i3 and i8, which will certainly reflect cars of the future being packed with the latest hybrid and carbon fibre  technologies. Both the i3 and i8 are seriously cool cars, particularly the i8 with is scissor doors and infectious style and pace!

I8 - Fully charged and ready to go.

Thanks to Richard Dean at BMW Rybrook, I had the amazing opportunity to review one of the scarce and hotly demanded i8’s. Like all articles I write I always ask “how would you describe this car in 5 words?” Richard promptly said, Stunning, Dynamic, Accomplished, Responsive, Fun and very desirable. I had to cut his enthusiasm of adjectives back to 5 words. Without having had a go in the car I instinctively knew that the words exemplified the character of a very special car.


Before evening stepping inside the i8 I was excited. On looks alone I was taken back by the detail and revolutionary design. From every angle the design will prompt curiosity of mind and of conversation with people you meet. From the scissor doors to the sculpted air scoops over the rear wheels, there is a fusion of style and sophistication. The 3 tone bodywork with carbon fibre details add loads of desirability about the i8 which will capture the eye of most. 

i8- nice place to be.

 


The interior is every bit as stylish as the exterior. Better still, quality is top notch, with excellent finish and great materials. As with the smaller i3, recycled and sustainable materials are used throughout. The crisp design blends all the interior well, especially the seats which immediately impress with the sporting feel and comfort. Entry to the i8 is obviously different to most cars with scissor doors, and low ride height, but the car is a statement, something to show off and be proud of. Buyers can upgrade the materials and leather by opting for either the £1,150 Carpo or £2,150 Halo interior ‘world’ finishes.

i8 Interior - stylish mix of futuristic and traditional details with tactile BMW quality

 

All electric cars amuse me, especially the i8 being a supercar, when you start the car you expect a roar from the engine, but all you get is silence. In E mode, pure electric, the i8 is good for around 23 miles with the 131 hp electric motor driving the front wheels. However, dad my test driver was very keen to flick the gear level to the left which awakes the up the rear beast, let’s say a baby beast. The engine is a spritely and perky 1.5 litre three cylinder engine. But don’t let the small engine deceive. It produces convincingly youthful 231 horse power, buts it half the story without being paired with the electric engine. Together they produce a combined output of 362 BHP. 0-62mph takes 4.4 seconds, but because you have the instant torque of the electric motor, it actually feels a lot faster in the real world. It doesn’t matter what gear you’re in, the i8 responds instantly to any touch of the throttle and flick on the paddle shift gear levers.

 

i8 at Warwick Castle. Stone age and HiTec Age meet each other

Richard joined us on the drive, and slotted himself into the rear seats. Best to say the seats are compact and snug with the 2+2 configuration. We set off to explore some of Warwickshire’s roads towards Stratford and back to Warwick Castle.Dad being the lucky test driver, got to drive the i8 on a mixture of twisty roads and where appropriate gave it some welly. By just looking at my dad’s grin I knew how much he liked the i8 that makes such a good first impression. In sport mode the i8 awakes, the rear engine produces a surprisingly sweet roaring noise from such a small engine. The combined noise from the pair of motors is a very pleasant experience when the electronically enhanced soundtrack of the engine is turned up to max!!

Thanks to the 4 wheel drive which is supplied by the electric engine at the front and the normal engine in the back its makes cross country motoring a real treat, it sticks to the turns like a leach. The power flow is silkily smooth with the automatic box that applies the power so positively and controlled to the road. And thanks to the adaptive dampers the ride comfort is very good. BMW’s aerodynamic styling isn’t just for looks it boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.26, compared to a truck which has a coefficient of 0.6+, this makes air noise minimum.


If you are looking for a sub £100,000 sports car, not too worried about practicality, the i8 is a very serious contender which offers a strong USP of cutting edge technologies. The i8 is a stunning car in my eyes, it is a massive leap forward for the electric car. I think the i8 is the pivotal car, which makes the electric car seem more appealing and feasible. I love this car so much that’s why I’m giving it 5 stars ***** out of 5. A very special TOPCAR.

 

Thanks to Rybrook Warwick - for providing the i8.

 

 

 

See my review of the i3 by clicking on the image below

 

 

Other i8 News Stories - i8 Engines made in the UK


 

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