BMW i8 is back with Italian flair!
And the one to resuscitate is.... Taraschi. Remember?
Earlier this year, BMW reported that it has put an end to its electric sports coupe, the i8 which in all certainty, had fans who suppressed a sob in their eyes. There were many who liked the car as it was the brand's first electric supercar and some who appreciated it for its futuristic looks that fortunately, didn't bore the understated elegance of BMW's other models. However, with a decline in sales, BMW had to put an end to its manufacturing as after all, nothing is dear to a company than the emoluments it is able to fetch, right?
However, an Italian automaker that has ignominiously remained aloof from gathering any public or media attention, fetched an opportunity to once again delight the i8 aficionados not by entering into any solemn contract with BMW to fabricate and sell the i8, but by launching an independent coupe altogether which conspicuously has Italian looks but carries the interior visual appearance of the i8, albeit there are some discrepancies here too. All this progress has been diligently achieved by none other than Taraschi, the Italian automaker responsible for launching race cars in the '60s who attracted a lot of fame in his heyday.
But before that, a word on the basics. It is badged as the Taraschi Berardo and dare I make a blasphemous remark, it somewhat reminisces with the now kaput, Ferrari California from the front. Aluminium has been moulded wisely for its shape. It might look a decade archaic but who says those delectable cars can't cast a strong aura even today on the roads? The first takeaway from the design is the Italian nose where sits the automaker's stellar insignia on a rather minuscule throne being the grille. The air intakes are functional and indicative of purpose over style equation. The squared hood flanks bulbous indentations to invite more air to cool the engine. The middle section flanks muscular derrieres to snugly tuck the gargantuan tyres. My favourite styling element is the squatted stance making it look elegant and those aggressive and glossy side skirts. However, it is the rear which might gather polarising opinions as it is too corpulent for one's obsequious gape. The stubby glass area and the dual centre-mounted exhaust pipes are the major highlights here.
If you found the exterior succulent enough, you will surely love the intricate set of delicacies that wreak a sure sense of panache on the inside. It is an i8 on the inside, you will comment with pointed fingers and wide-open eyes but a thorough work of enveloping the entire interior with chocolate brown leather and wood has been done to leave the owners gobsmacked the moment they are seated in. The driver oriented console and the dash layout have been slyly lifted from the i8 but that's not a dim move at all. We always dreamed about sampling such an interior, haven't we. This is also the reason why the switchgear, HVAC vents, infotainment screen and gear lever are all very familiar touches. Hallelujah! It also gets i8's butterfly doors.
Another area where the Berardo parts ways with the i8 is in terms of the multiple powertrain options it has on offer. It is the same 1.5-litre 3-cylinder hybrid powertrain but gets a blissful 3 choices of tunes to choose from. The standard option will make you the owner of 420 horses. If you do not have any dearth of stables, you can also steal the opportunity to labour 470 or 520 horses, enough to propel this feather-weight 1,500 kg car to milky-way galaxy in a matter of seconds. However, the claimed time of 3.9 seconds from nought to 62 mph is fast but unexciting, if I may say so. You can hoon the car on a straight line to 280 Km/h before it implores for mercy.
Do you like this i8 in Berardo's clothing that brings with it a fusion of Italian style and German engineering?