BMW I8 – The Supercar With Green Credentials
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
First showcased as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, the BMW i8 has gone from strength to strength and still has the ability to turn heads like no other. It is the world’s best selling hybrid sports car.
Launched to the market in 2014, in March of this year BMW decided the time was right to refresh the model. Nothing too radical was planned, no need for that.
The clever hybrid powertrain sets the i8 apart from its rivals and the three cylinder 1499cc engine has received a modest power boost of 12hp. Combined with the electric motors, the i8 now produces 374hp when both power sources are engaged.
Of more interest perhaps is the improved electric only range. With a little restraint and in fine weather conditions, up to 34 miles of green motoring are possible. Speeds of up to 75mph can be achieved.
The high-voltage battery has a liquid cooling system, offers a maximum usable capacity of five kilowatt hours and can be recharged from a conventional household power socket, at a BMW i Wallbox or at a public charging station.
The combustion engine and electric motor, battery pack, power electronics, chassis components, and structure and crash functions are arranged together in the aluminium Drive module, while the central element of the Life module is the 2+2-seater’s passenger cell.
The battery unit is positioned low down in a central position, helping to give the car a low centre of gravity and enhance safety accordingly. Indeed, the centre of gravity of the BMW i8 is less than 460mm from the ground, making it lower than any other current BMW Group model. And this, like the car’s almost exact 50:50 weight distribution, ensures excellent handling properties.
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At a recent BMW Drive event, I was able to renew my acquaintanceship with the uber cool coupe. Sliding in through the gull wing door is enough to set the pulse racing but it is out on the road where the sense of occasion is palpable. Head turns as the eye-catching i8 glides past – it is still a rare sight on British roads.
But it is not all show and no go, for the i8 will blast from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds and will run out of puff at 155mph. That’s enough to worry a Porsche 911, which is fun!
At full chat, the i8 makes a great noise too, yet at low speed on battery power it is all but silent.
In the real world the i8 is not as economical as the on paper figures would suggest, but having recently spent time with a variety of supercars which struggled to better 15mpg, it is positively parsimonious!
The i8’s futuristic looks, impressive green credentials and exciting real world performance once again made a lasting impression. Prices start at £112,735 and if you can find another £12,000, the recently launched i8 cabriolet can be yours. Now there’s a tempting proposition.
BMW I8 – The Supercar With Green Credentials, 4th July 2018, 9:06 AM