Every so often in the automotive industry an automaker creates a car so revolutionary, that it flips the entire industry on its head. As much as I hate to admit it, the Toyota Prius was that vehicle of my time. And now, it’s the BMW i8.
Now I’ve probably already lost most of you, but before you go, just hear me out.
I’ve been visiting Katie’s Cars and Coffee quite a lot. So much so to the point that the individuals working at the coffee house no longer offer me a plate for my breakfast burrito, even though I want one. Maybe they do it on purpose, I’m not sure.
Either way, there’s been one car that I’ve become quite fond of – the BMW i8. I’ve already voiced my concerns for the future of hybrids, but I truly believe that this one rewrites the book on what’s possible.
What makes it so different from other hybrids?
- Its drop-dead gorgeous looks
- The lavish interior
- Its world first philosophy
- Somewhat affordable price tag
- That fact that it’s fun to drive
Pretty short list, but it summarizes everything that draws me, and the majority of people, towards the i8. Notice how I say people, and not just enthusiasts. That’s because everyone loves this car. Whenever I see it at Cars and Coffee there’s a massive crowd surrounding it, interrogating the owner for more information.
Regular car driving people who don’t know the difference between forced induction and natural aspiration love the vehicle. Car enthusiasts who examine every piece of technology like a Star Trek fanatic studies Klingon love the car. And that’s what makes it special.
When the Prius first came out in 1997, the world was confused by it. Something that didn’t just run on dead animal bones went against everything that was known. It set the path for future hybrids, like the i8 and the Chevrolet Volt, in a time when they weren’t accepted.
While it may sound like I speak highly of the Prius, I firmly believe that its time has come and gone. In its heyday, it was able to save countless baby seals, but now, it has become an everyday driver for individuals wanting to make a statement instead of a difference.
The i8 on the other hand, is a completely different story.
Yes, it may share the basic hybrid technology as the Prius, but damn it looks so much better doing it. How good does it look? Good enough to the point where 10 year olds know what it is. Whens the last time a hybrid car did that? Oh, that’s right. There’s a trio of them – the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1.
Regardless of the trio of hypercars that may exist, the i8 doesn’t require millionaire status to purchase, just above average status. I concede that the i8 may be a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth it.
The futuristic body is mated to an interior that would give a technology addict the high of their life. It’s all very mesmerizing. Just from looking at it, you feel like you’re 20 years in the future while other cars on the road look like they’re 50 years behind.
While I may not have the experience, skill, or money to warrant a drive in the i8, the reviews of its handling prowess are good. With a quick tire change, the i8 can corner as well as it accelerates, which is brisk to say the least.
In between the i8’s rear wheels lies a turbocharged-three-cylinder engine (from a Mini Cooper) making 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, which is then coupled to an electric motor positioned in the front of the vehicle producing another 129 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.
That’s 357 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque in a car capable of achieving 28 mpg on the engine alone, 43 mpg when combined with the electric motor and 76 mpg using electricity alone.
Need any more convincing? Automotive journalists have tested 0-60 mph times of the i8 and have gotten into the low four-second range.
I’m not a fan of hybrids. I’m not a fan of the future. And I’m not a fan of German engineering. So that fact that I like the i8 is surprising. But when an automaker checks every single box in a vehicle, what’s not to like.
I’ve always wanted a Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon – it’s my dream car. But after seeing the i8 that might’ve just changed.