Is the BMW I8 the perfect planet lovers sports car?
Imagine the scene, you’d just won the lottery and you could finally go and buy the sports car of your dreams. It’d be amazing, but hang on, there’s a catch! You also happen to run a renewable energy company. Therefore, it’d be very bad for business if you were to be seen driving something that harms the environment. Luckily, for anybody who can relate to this highly realistic scenario, BMW has the answer!
The answer comes in the very futuristic shape of the BMW I8. The I8 was launched in 2014 and it is a hybrid sports car. This means that it produces power from both an electric motor as well as a more traditional combustion engine. Recently, BMW launched the Roadster version of the I8, and as such, I’m going to assume that our lottery winning, environmentally conscious, CEO prefers his motoring thrills topless.
Its safe to say that regardless of eco intentions, the BMW I8 certainly has what it takes in the looks department. It is striking and undeniably futuristic, I think BMW did a great job with the design. It would have been very easy for them to have gone to far with it, or even easier to have played it safe. The I8 certainly moves the game on from some of the more traditional looking rivals. The appeal of the design is only exaggerated by BMWs decision to take the roof off. Fortunately, the design does more than make the I8 look good, it also incorporates features such as a sealed underbody and air ducts, these manipulate the air to aid efficiency.
The I8 produces a total of 374hp. Of this figure, 231hp is produced by a 1.5L 3-cylinder engine whilst the remaining 143hp, which is 12hp more than before, is produced by an electric motor. The I8 is all wheel drive, power is sent to the rear wheels by the petrol engine and the electric motor deals with the front axle. This means that the I8 is capable of dashing to 62mph in a respectable 4.6 seconds. The top speed is limited to 155mph, which I expect, will be more than enough for most. Arguably, the performance may come as a slight disappointment when compared to the list price. However, the USP of being able to drive on electric power alone, more than makes up for the slight lack in pace.
E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic are new paint options for the I8 © BMW Group – press.bmwgroup.com
For the Roadster and updated I8 coupe, BMW has increased the capacity of the battery cells. This means that it is now possible to cover up to 33 miles on electric power alone. This is a handy range to have, it means that our CEO may be able to get to and from work without having to fire up the petrol engine at all. In addition to this, and with the eDrive button pressed, it is possible to travel up to 75mph on electric power alone. The eDrive button can be used with both the comfort and eco pro mode, when activated the I8 will only use the electric motor. Further to this there is a sport mode. Sport mode ensures that as much power as possible is delivered, it also activates maximum energy recuperation during braking. Energy recuperation helps keep the batteries topped up by converting kinetic energy that would otherwise be wasted into electricity. When not in maximum attack mode, BMW say that the I8 should return 56mpg on a typical commute. Additionally, the typically high standard BMW interior should ensure that the commute is done with the maximum levels of tech at your disposal.
For the time being, and ignoring the 918 Spyder, the I8 seems to stand alone in the sports car market and I really like it. On paper, the I8 has the performance and eco credentials to live up to it’s other worldy-looks. Being able to drop the roof in less than 15 seconds at speeds up to 31mph, is just a bonus. I think our lottery winning CEO would be more than happy with an I8 Roadster, but what do you think? Let me know in the comments section below!
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