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Nate Chapnick | Photo: Courtesy of BMW | August 1, 2014
BMW’s edgy new i8 brings a little green to the supercar.
A supercar with a green-car conscience, BMW’s new i8 merges high-speed looks with an advanced fuel-sipping hybrid plug-in powertrain. This combination proves a success, as the i8 is a thrill to drive and a sight to behold.
Not for those who prefer making a discreet entrance, the BMW i8 makes a grand arrival: even people who have zero interest in cars will crane their necks to see its futuristic silhouette. A dramatic entry or exit is guaranteed, thanks to the i8’s unique scissor-like doors that open up and out like wings. Up front, BMW’s signature kidney-shaped grille gets a blue accent and is widened to accentuate the i8’s sporty demeanor. Its shape is no mistake either, what with its wavy sides and low-slung hood, which help it achieve an incredibly aerodynamic 0.26 drag coefficient.
The i8’s interior design is just as otherworldly as its exterior suggests. A full digital display serves as the instrument panel behind the steering wheel, while a free-floating 8.8-inch LCD display, controlled via the latest version of BMW’s iDrive with a new touch pad, rests on top of the dashboard. The i8 is technically a 2+2, meaning it seats two passengers in back, but these seats are best reserved for little ones or the stunning $26,050 four-piece Louis Vuitton carbon-fiber luggage that was specially designed to fit in the car’s backseat (as well as the trunk).
Hit the start button and you don’t hear traditional engine sounds, but rather an awakening of the digital controls. Once you have selected one of five different driving modes, you’re ready to experience what’s truly the most advanced powertrain on the market. A 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine combines with a 129-horsepower electric motor to create 357 horsepower, enough to propel the lightweight 3,285-pound i8 from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. While not as fast as some BMWs, the i8 is highly efficient and should get around 70 mpg, thanks to its rechargeable lithium ion battery, which has a 22-mile range on electric power alone.
Experience the future for yourself when the new i8 arrives at select BMW dealers this month with a starting price of $135,700.
2014 BMW i8
Base Price: $135,700
Gasoline Engine: 1.5-liter 3-cylinder
Electric Motor: 96 kW
Combined Horsepower: 357 hp
Combined Torque: 420 lb.-ft.
Combined city/highway fuel economy: 70 mpg est.
Weight: 3,285 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 4.2 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph
Louis Vuitton custom luggage