BMW i8 Performance & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Your first impression when you watch the BMW i8 would be “WOW, What a car!” Launched in India in February 2015, there are two reasons for the car’s popularity. The first one is that this is the costliest car to roll out in India from the Bavarian Motor Works stable. The BMW i8price tag is INR 2.62 crores. Secondly, this is the first offering by BMW that boasts of TwinPower technology and an electric motor.The recipient of the World Green Car Award in 2015, the BMW i8 has some fantastic features that offer you the ultimate in luxury and comfort. We shall look at the BMW i8 features in detail in the following paragraphs. One of the smartest looking cars in the market, the BMW i8 specifications are a dream. You have the most innovative driving technology on display that makes the BMW i8 performance absolutely stunning. Possessing one of the strongest engines in the auto industry, the BMW i8 transmission system is of the highest quality. The BMW i8 images show magnificent exteriors. Very few cars can match the BMW i8 interiors. This sophisticated vehicle has some of the stringiest safety requirements making this car the King as far as BMW i8 braking and safety is concerned. The combination of the petrol and electric motor works like a dream with a peak BMW i8 mileage of 47.45 kmpl. The sophisticated technology ensures that you have the best BMW i8 handling experience ever. Overall, one can surely state that the BMW i8 is a car par excellence.

EXTERIORS ;

Describing the exteriors of the BMW i8 isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are multiple design cues, curves and lines. The i8 looks unlike any other car from the BMW stable. You still get the kidney grille at the front which gets blue surrounds. Next to the grille are the thin and sharp headlamps which also look very discrete. The front bumper has a flowing design and it blends seamlessly with the fenders. The side profile is where much of the action is. The scissor doors are the party piece of the i8 and the door handles are concealed slightly out of sight. Another eye-catcher on the side are the razor alloy wheels. Things get even more dramatic at the rear with the bumper getting a very busy and in-your-face design while the tail lamps carry a bold look. Not to forget, there is an abundance of blue accents all around the car.

INTERIORS ;

Another area where the designers were free to style the car. The way the exterior looks, some of that charisma goes missing on the inside. Well, it does stand out from the other BMWs and it is quite technologically advanced. The centre console has a large single AC vent and a large tab-like screen above it. Underneath is this the same climate control, gear knob and iDrive system we find on any other BMW. There isn’t much of a change in the quality and other aspect.The steering wheel is all new and the design is borrowed from the i-range. The i3 also has a similar steering wheel and somewhat similar instrument cluster. There aren’t many elements on the inside that makes the i8 so WOW! on the inside. The seats are similar to the i family, though these hug you and provide better grip. The rear seats, well they are indeed for kids. I as a six-footer tried to sit back making it extremely difficult to move into the position and then step out. The boot is just like a super car, can hold only your boots. This is what makes it like a super car and to be honest I like it. You do not buy an i8 to go out and buy weekend groceries. Its a weekend car for two only.

PERFORMANCE ;

Power for the 2017 BMW i8 comes from a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The gas engine drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, while the electric motor powers the front wheels through an integrated two-speed automatic. Taken together, these two sources produce 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque in an all-wheel-drive configuration.During Edmunds testing, a European-spec BMW i8 sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a relatively quick time that’s nonetheless eclipsed by a number of non-hybrid sports cars on the market.The i8’s battery pack can be fully recharged at home through a standard 120-volt garage outlet in about 3.5 hours. Upgrade to a 240-volt charger (or visit a public Level 2 charging station) and you can trim the time down to about 1.5 hours. EPA energy-efficiency estimates for the i8 include 15 miles of electric-only range and a combined (city/highway) fuel economy rating of 28 mpg when the gas engine comes into play. Total driving range is estimated at 330 miles. The EPA also rated the BMW i8 at 76 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent), factoring in both gas and electric operation.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

As with any other sports car, the BMW i8 has a stiffly sprung suspension and it gets even stiffer in Sport mode. The car also has a low ground clearance of 117 mm and thus you need to be super careful on uneven speed breakers and sharp craters on our roads. The car comes with a staggered wheel set up and I honestly found the tyres to have excellent grip levels. The steering is one of the best ones I’ve ever encountered. It is superbly direct and precise and offers tons of feedback too. The chassis feels very tight and the i8 is an extremely fun car to tackle corners in. Braking is impressive and the i8 has good stopping power, shedding speeds without any drama.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

This luxury sports car gets all the innovative safety aspects that ensures maximized protection to the occupants inside. The company has constructed it with carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which is light, stable and enhances the safety of the occupants inside. It also has an advanced traction control programs that monitors the traction of individual wheels and prevents the loss of traction to improve stability. Apart from these, this car has features including acoustic protection for pedestrians, anti theft package with alarm, intelligent LED light system, eight airbags, ABS with brake assist function, dynamic stability control, electric parking brake, ISOFIX child seat mounting, tyre puncture repair kit and warning triangle with first aid kit.

VERDICT ;

The BMW i8 is not the perfect sportscar — others will thrill you more. Nor is it the perfect eco-mobility solution — you have to be quite controlled with your driving to achieve those amazing claimed range figures. But it is a superb combination of the two, and it’s wrapped in an incredibly desirable and futuristic package. What’s more, these days being environmentally conscious is very fashionable, and what better way to make a statement than with a sexy hybrid sportscar. For all its high tech though, at Rs 2.29 crore (ex-showroom, all-India), it is very expensive, especially when you consider that for the same money, you could get a lot more performance (not to mention bigger thrills) in the form of a Jaguar F-type R, Porsche 911 Turbo or an Audi R8 V10. Still, there’s no doubt, that for a small few, this car’s futuristic styling, techie appeal and green credentials, will be a big draw.

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