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    Bob Harper
    Bob Harper posted a new blog post, Liberty Walk BMW i8 I12

    Liberty Walk BMW i8 I12

    Posted in Cars on Wednesday, 03 April 2019

    Europe’s first Liberty Walk i8 I12 takes BMW’s peculiar hybrid supercar to strange new places. If you weren’t a fan of the i8 before, you will be now…

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    Long-term test 2017-BMW-i8 The same but different

    CAR: #2017-BMW-i8 / #BMW-i8 / #2017 / #BMW / #BMW-i3

    OWNER: MARK DIXON

    Love or loathe’em, hybrids are here to stay – although it’s more than 20 years since the Toyota Prius was launched and you do have to wonder whether the public would have embraced hybrids sooner if they’d looked more like spaceships and less like painted vegetables.

    Fact is, as I was always banging on about when I ran my first-generation Honda Insight (now sold; see), hybrids can be a lot of fun to drive. We’ve been running an i3 on the mag for a few months now, and all of us have relished the intellectual challenge of using its regenerative charging system to the max – and, less intellectually, the childish thrill of swooshing past other drivers by surfing the i3’s remarkable wave of torque.

    Interesting car though it is, the i3 has its limitations. It’s intended to be a city car but several of us live a considerable distance from the office, which means that a one-way drive will exhaust a full electrical charge – and the tiny range-extending petrol engine only gives you another 70 miles. Charging the car at home from a domestic supply can take up to 15 hours, and if you live in a flat, like me, you’re stuffed.

    Which is why we were keen to try the i3’s bigger brother, the i8. It’s a completely different kind of car: a GT with supercar performance that promises supermini economy. Yes, it’s a petrol-electric hybrid, but you can choose to run the i8 on petrol all the time (unlike the i3), using its turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine – nicked from the entry-level Mini, can you believe – with added oomph supplied by the electric motor. A 1.5-litre triple may not sound exciting, but 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds tells a different story.

    Talking of exciting sounds, the i8 is a bit of a fibber in that its sporty exhaust note (which sounded a bit racing #V8-like , to these ears) is artificial and piped into the cabin. Shame! But that doesn’t detract too much. The #BMW-i8 is not just blisteringly fast, it feels genuinely special, and at night its cabin is streaked with blue-LED curves in a very spaceship manner.

    The one feature about the i8 guaranteed to divide opinion is the gullwing doors. They look super-cool but, leave the car in a typical British car park, come back to find someone has parked either side of you, and you may not be able to open them wide enough to get in. You have to be pretty athletic to climb in and out of the lowslung seats with any decorum, too – which rules out much of the #Drive-My team.

    For that reason, my colleague Glen said that he’d rather spend his hypothetical 100 grand on a 911. I take his point but I’d still have an i8. After all, who doesn’t want to pilot a spaceship?
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    votren911
    votren911 updated the group picture
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    Bob Harper

    2018 BMW i8 AC Schnitzer ACS8 road test

    Posted in Cars on Saturday, 02 December 2017

    AC Schnitzer ACS8 German tuner develops suspension, wheel and tyre upgrades for the BMW i8 – and a whole lotta carbonfibre add-ons too… Photography by Dave Smith.

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    Vorsteiner bodykits for #BMW-i8 / #BMW / #BMW-i8-Vorsteiner / #Vorsteiner / #Vorsteiner-bodykit

    It takes quite something for a modern car to be truly groundbreaking, particularly now that we live in a world dominated by amazing hybrids and battery-powered wundercars, but the BMW i8 most definitely fits the bill. It’s a car which manages to marry technology so cutting edge that it should come with a health and safety warning; great looks and breathtaking performance – no mean feat! Better still it’s a car that has recently been added to the Vorsteiner range of Aero body components, meaning i8 owners now have the option of making their already eye-catching cars that bit more jaw-slackening.

    Probably best known for its aerodynamics, wind tunnel-honed bodywork additions, carbon fibre creations and hyper-aggressive alloy wheels, Vorsteiner’s portfolio is ideally suited for the UK market.

    Brought to the UK under the umbrella of The Performance Company (TPC), the Vorsteiner kit for the i8 is drawn from the much-lauded Aero range, and has the potential to utterly transform the look of this already striking-looking Munich machine.

    Vorsteiner’s offerings for the genre-defying i8 are particularly special, and the full range of components includes a VR-E Aero front spoiler, #VR-E-Aero rear diffuser and VR-E Aero ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler. Striking enough in their own right, these components have been further elevated by being rendered in glossy carbon fibre. The Aero parts can be ordered separately or, for the full effect, as a complete, show-stopping package.

    Those opting for the latter will create an i8 that’s quite unlike anything else on the road today, the Aero add-ons serving to enhance the already aggressive styling of this spectacular-looking car.

    Pushing the boundaries of art and technology, Vorsteiner is able to supply premium composite components made to exacting standards, all realised in the finest autoclaved pre-impregnated carbon fibre.

    Vorsteiner carbon fibre provides superior stiffness, aerospace strength and durability, compared to traditional hand-laid carbon fibre composites, meaning it can be counted on both to perform and look jaw-dropping.

    Prices for the components are as follows:

    • VR-E Aero front spoiler carbon fibre PP 1x1 glossy - £1,974
    • VR-E Aero rear diffuser carbon fibre PP 1x1 glossy - £1,974
    • VR-E Aero ducktail spoiler carbon fibre PP 1x1 glossy - £1,036
    (all prices excl. VAT).
    Call 01933 685840 or visit theperformance.co for more information.

    Enhance the look of your i8 with the impressive new aero kit from Vorsteiner.
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    Car: #BMW-i8 / #BMW
    Date acquired November #2016
    Total mileage 12,526
    Mileage this month 1074
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 37.2

    Three years after driving one for the first time, Richard Meaden revisits the i8. Have his feelings about it changed?

    THE TROUBLE WITH

    The future is it quickly becomes the present and then, in equally short order, the recent past. The first time I drove an i8, during eCoty 2014 (the silver car pictured here), it very much felt like I was in some kind of time machine. The looks, the technology and, yes, the driving experience all felt like something very fresh.

    A few years later and that bold Bavarian vision of the future is parked outside my house, thanks to the benevolence of editor Gallagher, who wants to share the i8 love.

    Its presence has certainly taken the sting from losing my old Fast Fleeter, the stonking AMG C63 S (the final report for which you may have read on). I’m struggling to think of two more different takes on the quick, premium, German two-door, but the contrast is very good for revealing what I like and dislike about BMW’s statement of intent.

    Do I miss a big, ballsy combustion engine? When I press the i8’s starter button, yes, of course I do. The AMG was like a shot of adrenalin, whereas the i8 starts with an aural cue much like turning on a laptop. The funny thing is, so long as it has some juice in the batteries, that disappointment lasts just as long as it takes to pull the gear-selector into D and whirr off down my drive on near-silent electric propulsion. No, that novelty never wears off.

    Sadly, the thrum of the i8’s triple-cylinder petrol engine is less endearing – unless you really clog it, at which point it starts to become interesting. I didn’t mind it so much back in 2014, but expectations have grown in 2017. In fact, I’m the first to admit the most satisfying solution could easily be more/all electricity and less/no internal combustion. As it stands, the i8 feels like it’s caught between two worlds – those of an all-electric future and a past rooted in performance cars requiring petrol engines to feel authentic.

    Does it feel quick? When you floor it with all 357bhp, absolutely. The torque-fill from the electric motor really does deliver a decent shove, and the tall gearing adds to the sense of reach and elastic, accessible performance.

    Chassis-wise, it’s competent but a bit of a cold fish. The numb steering is the weakest element, which is a shame as you do feel inclined to drive the i8 at a decent pace on fun roads. The damping is firm but the body is nicely controlled, so it’ll find a flow on a good A-road. Some of the lack of feel can be blamed on the tyres, which generate decent grip in the dry but lack progression when you exceed their limits. And it all gets a bit spooky in the wet, with a glassy feel that offers little clue as to how much grip there is to play with.

    What the i8 does brilliantly is provoke thought and reaction. Kids love it – surely a good thing to enthuse new generations of car nuts – and even those adults I’d have down as diehard petrolheads are intrigued by the looks, technology and driving experience.

    You can’t directly compare the i8 in value-for-money or bang-per-buck terms with conventional rivals. But as a bold attempt at reconciling a love of cars and driving with an environmental conscience, this BMW has plenty going for it.

    Richard Meaden (@DickieMeaden)

    ‘Chassis-wise, it’s competent but a bit of a cold fish. The numb steering is the weakest element’
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