There are supercars and then there is the BMW i8 which looks the part but there is an argument it is not actually a supercar.
The new flagship hybrid from BMW can go from 0-60 mph in four seconds. That’s just the starting acceleration so how fast is it really?
Make no mistake, the BMW i8 is exceptionally designed and is one of the fastest production cars ever built.
It certainly looks the part, as if it has just touched down from a few decades into the future which you would expect when one of its concept cars was featured in a Mission Impossible film.
This is because it uses a revolutionary new powertrain called Efficient Dynamics which provides instant torque and zero emissions.
While that initial acceleration from 0-60 MPH is undoubtedly impressive, how it hits its top speed is truly stupefying. Although it looks very futuristic and may be designed for those who really want to flaunt their wealth, you may have trouble getting your hands on one.
The Performance of A BMW i8
A supercar should come equipped with a high performance and the BMW i8 is no different. What you should note is that the engine is one taken from a mere 1.5 liter MINI Cooper.
That’s right, a three-cylinder MINI Cooper. Once you realize that, the performance can seem like some form of magic, something that has to be experienced to be truly believed.
There are some modifications that you would come to expect but the hybrid combination is something to behold.
That electric power amounts to an 11.6-kWh lithium-ion battery and a range of just 25 miles on the battery alone yet 320 miles in total for the gas.
As a hybrid, you still have to figure in the gas tank and this one holds 11.1 gallons and is 69 miles to the gallon when the two power sources are combined.
For torque, you are looking at 420 pound-feet which equates to 569 Newton-meters.
That power is routed to every wheel via the eight-speed automatic gearbox. Such distribution when you put your foot to the ground can feel seriously powerful but then you would expect that in such a well-made hybrid.
However, there are reports that the i8 suffers from light steering that has been marked in several BMWs.
That is something to consider in a car that is intended to come with sporting intent so there is an expectation of more feedback. Despite that torque, any bumps in the road can be felt but not too harshly.
The Speed of A BMW i8
The torque can pack a punch but what you really want to know is how that translates into speed which can be demonstrated in the horsepower. That three-cylinder engine can hit 231 BHP and the electric motor adds a further 143 BHP and all that adds up.
With a lightweight frame, the car has a top, limited speed of 155 MPH which is typical of BMWs. In fact, if you wanted that top speed, you could simply get a BMW M but why would you with such economy on offer from a hybrid?
Other tests do offer more of a picture of just how quick the BMW i8 can be. From 62 MPH (100 KPH) to 124 MPH (200 KPH) in just under 11 seconds is seriously impressive. That the i8 can do 0-124 MPH (0-200 KPH) in 15.38 seconds is also quite a feat.
Though it has that electronically limited maximum speed of 155 MPH (250 KPH), it can reach that in around 34 seconds. When you consider that the i8 is over seven years old with a 1.5 liter, three-cylinder engine, it sounds even better.
The Evolution of A BMW i8
Once upon a time, electric and hybrid cars were thought of as quite functional. They would do a job yet still feel dull. That all changed when some of the leading car manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon to shake things up.
One of those manufacturers was BMW who launched the i8 in 2014. In 2018, BMW launched a Roaster variation on the i8 which appeared to be a coupe with the roof off.
Yes, as a hybrid there is an environmentally-conscious feel to the car yet when you look at it there are clear supercar vibes. Those looks have not changed yet even now the car still appears stupendous.
That is in a range of colors including ‘Crystal White Pearl Effect’, ‘Protonic Blue’, ‘Sophisto Grey’, and ‘Ionic Silver’. Those titles do sound like they have come straight from the comic books but on the i8 they look very, very good.
Unfortunately, BMW decided that the evolution of the i8 has already ended. With no direct replacement forthcoming, one of the most innovative cars on the road remains just that. Hopefully, that innovation continues to last as it still seems ahead of its time.
Looking at the BMW i8, you may think it is a sports car and you would be largely correct. Launched in 2014, the hybrid car had already been featured in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol three years earlier, and with good reason.
The way it is powered certainly feels like fiction as the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine is taken from a MINI Cooper. That it can go from 0-60 MPH in four seconds should feel impressive. However, the top speed is an electronically limited one of 155 MPH.
While there are certainly supercars that can hit much higher top speeds, the combination of the electric motor and gas-powered engine offers some decent pace. The car also offers some economy as it can go as far as 25 miles on a full electric charge.
Imagine such performance in such a good-looking car that you can charge up at the office. Just make sure you get permission from the boss first.