The BMW i8 Road Test Review — More Than What Meets The ‘i’

BMW i8 review and road test report of one of the ultimate hybrid sports cars money can buy today. Read on.

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Cars such as the DeLorean from Back To The Future, KITT (the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am featured in Knight Rider), and obviously the James Bond cars were some machines kids from the 80's would have loved to see in their production guise. Fast forward to the present day; one such car was the BMW featured in the Movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

The BMW i8 featured in Mission Impossible was a car that looked light years ahead regarding design. BMW even showcased the concept version of the i8 hybrid in 2009, followed by another design during the 2011 International Auto Show in Germany. In 2013, BMW confirmed mass production of the car and the i8 officially went on sale in 2014.

The BMW i8 is a looker, no matter which angle one looks at the car. The hybrid sports car features a low, wide stance, living up to every expectation one would want from such a car. The unique rear wing that hosts the tail lamp and the blue accents compliment the i8's futuristic design.

The i8 will draw a huge crowd, be it parked or on the roll. The scissor doors, or butterfly doors as BMW likes to call it, are a great touch, although it becomes a bit of squeeze for people to get in or out.

The car features a lot of carbon fibre, and the attention to detail is immaculate. The i8 features laser headlights, the first car to features such tech. The daytime running lights back up as turn signals too, and the whole process is a delight to watch.

Coming to the car's prime area of focus, the hybrid engine. The turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, combined with the electric motor help the i8 produce 362bhp and 570Nm of torque. The i8 can run in pure electric mode for 37km, but the fun is driving the car on a combination of both.

The BMW i8 features three driving modes, Comfort (default setting), Eco Pro (for better fuel efficiency), and Sport (for enthusiastic drivers). The car has brake energy regeneration, and speaking of it, the massive brakes do their duty well. The hybrid engine comes paired to a 6-speed automatic gearbox, and paddle shifters are available at the driver's disposal.

In the ‘Comfort' and ‘Eco Pro' modes, the electric motor drives the car and the petrol engine kicks in only when throttled aggressively or when the car is driven over 60km/h. In ‘Sports' mode, which shifts when the gear lever is pushed left, the console turns red, and the power level indicator is replaced by a tachometer, while the electric motor and the petrol engine power the car.

The engine performance figures are good, and the exhaust note is impressive for a three-cylinder motor, although some of it is artificially generated through the speakers. The electric motor drives the front wheel while the internal combustion engine drives the rear, making it an all-wheel drive system when sufficient electric juice is available.

In reality, traffic conditions limit the full potential of the engine. Handling is sharp and precise, and the feedback on the steering wheel fills the driver with enough confidence to open taps occasionally.

The i8 has it all, sleek lines, appealing style, performance figures of a sports car, sophisticated hybrid drivetrain, scissor doors, and more. It seems to be the ultimate car, but the hiccup is when there's a speed breaker. The 117mm ground clearance and 2800mm wheelbase of the i8 make a simple speed breaker look like a technical terrain.

Moving on to an important part of the review, the question — should you buy one? If a sports car is on your mind, the Audi R8, Jaguar F-Type S, Ferrari, and even Lamborgini make a good choice. If a capable hybrid car is what interests you, with lines that can put any automobile on the planet to shame, the BMW i8 is a fantastic choice.

The hybrid engine returns phenomenal mileage on the open roads and enough power to propel the i8 to give sports cars in India a run for their money. What's more — the boot offers ample space to carry luggage, and the rear seats are sufficient to take your kids along too.

BMW i8 Engine Specifications

Displacement 1.5-litre, three-cylinder
Power 228 bhp
Torque 319 Nm
Electric Motor Power 129 bhp
Electric Motor Torque 250 Nm
Combined Power 357 bhp
Gearbox 570 Nm
0 – 100 km/h 4.4 seconds
Top Speed 250 km/h

BMW i8 Dimensions

Length 4689 mm
Width 1942mm
Height 1298 mm
Ground Clearance
117 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity
42 litres
Wheel Base
2800 mm
Wheel Size 20 inch

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