The BMW i8 is a hybrid sports coupe that brought a significant shift in the auto industry when it was unveiled in 2014. It had almost a $148,000 price tag and boasted an efficient engine delivering 369hp and going from 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It also offered an impressive fuel economy of up to 76 MPG, thanks to its unique combination of a three-cylinder combustion engine and a powerful electric motor.
Born from the Vision EfficientDynamics concept in 2009, the BMW i8 officially debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show before its production model was launched in 2014. This initial model boasted an aluminum chassis housing a three-cylinder gas engine paired with a state-of-the-art electric motor. The 2015 model followed, introducing laser headlights as a premium option, a first in the automotive industry. By 2018, BMW expanded the i8 lineup by introducing the BMW i8 Roadster variant - the i8's convertible fun version. It also had updates like a more powerful electric motor and increased battery capacity. Fast forward to 2020, the i8 celebrated its final year of production with the Ultimate Sophisto Edition, replete with exclusive Sophisto Grey metallic paint and E-Copper accents.
The BMW i8's exterior design is nothing short of a spectacle. The car's low-slung, aerodynamic silhouette is eye-catching, and the distinctive scissor doors, a nod to classic sports car design, spice up the i8. They swing upwards when opened, creating a visual appeal that never fails to turn heads. The i8 has captivating LED headlights that offer bright, efficient illumination, ensuring visibility in all driving conditions. The rear of the i8 is just as impressive, with a design that emphasizes the car's sporty character. The stylishly shaped tail lamps and the black belt running from the front to the rear add to its aesthetic appeal. The i8's body is meticulously crafted from lightweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic material, as strong as steel and 50% lighter. All the lines of the i8 are carefully sculpted to reflect its sporty nature.
Stepping inside the BMW i8, you are greeted with an interior that is pleasantly designed, the small-sized doors notwithstanding. The dashboard and center console design are driver-centric, and all controls are within easy reach. The i8 doesn't compromise on luxury, with the base model featuring Ivory White leather seats. Upgrading to the Tera World package offers lavish Amido Black leather and cloth accent trims. Its interior quality is top-notch, with high-grade materials used throughout. The dashboard and console are thoughtfully designed and adorned in premium leather, with metal accents adding to the overall aesthetic.
The i8 has many features, including the 8.8-inch infotainment screen displaying information and vehicle settings. You'll also get navigation, Apple CarPlay, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system. The i8 also offers a head-up display as an optional extra, projecting essential driving information onto the windscreen so you can keep your eyes on the road. And there's the ambient lighting that bathes the cabin with a soft, adjustable glow, adding a touch of elegance to the interior.
The BMW i8 brims with top-tier technology that enhances the driving experience and overall vehicle performance. One of the most notable features is the eDrive technology – the combination of a powerful electric motor, lithium-ion battery, and intelligent energy management system. It allows you to switch between pure electric, combined electric and petrol, or pure petrol drive modes, maximizing efficiency and performance as needed. Also included is BMW's ConnectedDrive system, which provides digital services to enhance convenience and safety. With the i8, you'll get updated traffic information from the navigation system. You'll also get driver-assist technologies like Surround View and Park Distance Control. The i8 includes a Driving Assistant package as standard, and it comprises Frontal Collision Warning with pedestrian detection, City Collision Mitigation, and High Beam Assistant. Even the car's key fob is futuristic. The 2015 BMW i8 has an optional display key with an integrated LCD touchscreen for controlling certain functions.
Under the hood, the BMW i8 has a unique combination of a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor. The gas engine, located in the rear, supplies 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor, on the other hand, provides 141 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. In electric mode, the i8 can travel up to 18 miles, making it ideal for city commutes. Regarding fuel efficiency, the i8 offers an impressive EPA rating of 76 MPG combined when using electric power and the gas engine. This powertrain, combined, offers a total output of 369 horsepower, capable of propelling the i8 from 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds for the coupe and 4.4 seconds for the roadster variant.
The i8 is available in two trim levels: the Coupe and the Roadster (which debuted in 2018). The same hybrid powertrain powers both trims and has the same features. However, the Roadster features a power-folding soft top that adds more exhilaration to your driving experience. Suspension-wise, you'll get a double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension that ensures a smooth ride. It utilizes BMW's dynamic damper control system, which adjusts the suspension settings to match the driving conditions. Furthermore, the low center of gravity and near-perfect weight distribution of the i8 contribute to its agile handling and stability. From a performance perspective, the BMW i8's electric motor provides instant torque for swift acceleration. At the same time, the gas engine delivers sustained high-speed performance.
The BMW i8 tried to hold its value remarkably well, considering the typical depreciation curve of luxury sports cars. Its innovative design, limited production numbers, and unique hybrid system contribute to its strong resale potential. The Roadster variant, in particular, with its limited production numbers, holds a higher collectability factor. But like any car intended for collection, its value can be influenced by many factors, such as maintenance, mileage, condition, and market trends. So, while the i8 ticks many boxes that appeal to collectors, it's worth noting that as a modern car, it may not offer the same level of investment potential as classic cars.
With butterfly doors and futuristic styling, the i8 will turn heads wherever it goes. But there's more to this car than just its looks. Here are some interesting facts about the BMW i8 that you may not know:
The BMW i8 remains a game-changer that will ensure you enjoy the luxury and the power of hybrid vehicles without breaking the bank. With its captivating aesthetics, remarkable fuel efficiency, and powerful hybrid system, it offers a compelling alternative to traditional sports cars. Even as a used car, the i8 remains an excellent investment, continuing to hold its value in the pre-owned market.
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