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    Everyday Espada / #1970-Lamborghini-Espada-Series-2 / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada-Series-2 / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini /

    I’ve spent the last few weeks having an affair. The mistress in question is an Italian model who’s a year older than me. To make matters worse, she normally lives with my father. Around three years ago, I was fortunate enough to acquire both a new BMW i8 and an early-1970 #Lamborghini-V12 Espada Series 2. The i8 has been my main car since then and the Espada, after a light restoration – when the car was pictured alongside Mark Dixon’s silver example in Octane Cars [above] – moved into my dad’s garage.

    His affection for the car was marginally greater than mine, since one had been at the top of his ‘wish list’ in the 1970s, and it therefore seemed fitting that she should move in with him.

    The i8 is a truly remarkable car and I honestly can’t think of what I’d replace it with for everyday use. However, the Espada has never been far from my thoughts. When my father announced that he would be spending five weeks out of the country, a thought entered my head: how would the Espada perform as an everyday car in the modern world?

    The first thing that struck me was just how similar the Espada and the i8 are in size. The Espada is only 4cm longer than the i8, but it is a full 10cm lower, and it’s this that gives the impression of length. They both weigh about the same, but it really doesn’t feel that way behind the wheel. The Espada, with unassisted steering, provides a real work-out at parking speeds and still feels very heavy up to around 25mph, after which everything lightens up considerably. The physical effort required to drive it is almost shocking if you’ve just stepped out of a modern car, but you quickly get used to it and it becomes an important part of the overall experience.

    It’s only when you live with a car on a daily basis that you really get to know all of its idiosyncrasies. The magnificent engine is exactly as I’d expected, but it’s the way the Espada covers ground at high speed that really stands out. Genuinely you can feel everything coming together; the car relaxes and that means you can relax too. It’s almost like an aircraft: clumsy on the ground, but entirely at home when it’s in the air.

    Also unexpected were the quality of the ride and the space inside the cabin. The Espada glides over the ground with a smoothness that exceeds that of any of the modern cars I drive – the very tall profile of the Espada’s tyres goes a long way towards explaining this. It also has more rear legroom than many modern saloons, let alone 2+2s, and a boot that will happily swallow a week’s shopping.

    It’s not all sweetness and light, though. The handbook tells you how to start the car when it’s cold and also how to start it when it’s hot. Get it wrong and it’s all too easy to sit there with starter whirring and absolutely nothing happening. When you do get it going, you have to feed-in the throttle carefully below 2500rpm to avoid spluttering progress and you need to rev the engine well beyond this point if you want spirited performance. This is no chore, but it does mean that mpg hovers somewhere in the low double digits. Combine this with an inaccurate fuel gauge and the complexity of filling the twin tanks to capacity and you end up with a real-world range of less than 200 miles – hardly ideal for a grand tourer.

    And yet… after living with it for a few weeks – it’s pictured [above] in my office car park – I’m happy to report that the Espada is entirely useable in the modern world. It can soothe or excite according to your mood and can turn heads like no other. I’m going to miss her a lot when she goes back to my dad’s house. Just don’t tell the #BMW-i8 .
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    Long-term test 2017-BMW-i8 The same but different

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


    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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    James Elliott

    A series of fortunate events

    While the Octane mantra is to provide something (well, several things) for every enthusiast in each and every edition, it is hard to recall a more diverse issue than this one. And it is equally difficult to pinpoint a more adventurous one. In a lipsmackingly, delectably good sort of way, that is.

    For a start, Le Jog has long been regarded as the UK’s most gruelling reliability trial. Even in mild weather, HERO’s Land’s End to John O’Groats epic is pretty demanding, but when it snows and the roads are covered with treacherous ice, it is a mammoth test of physical and mental endurance even for the most experienced crews. Naturally, therefore, we sent a total novice on it in a BMW 1602: none other than F1 pundit Tony Jardine.

    At the opposite end of the scale was John Simister’s experience racing an 1899 De Dion tricycle at Brooklands, to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the UK’s first-ever motor racing meeting, which was held in Richmond. And wilder still was Glen Waddington’s stint in the passenger seat as rally legend Hannu Mikkola was reunited with his Safari Rally-winning Audi 200 Quattro on the very dirt tracks along which he drove to a momentous victory in 1987. On the surface, enjoying something as practical as a BMW M1 might seem a trifle tame in comparison, but rest assured that photographing this sublime straight-six supercar on the streets of New York was as challenging as anything else in this edition.

    Plus, further to celebrate the shapely Giugiaro-styled BMW, we have put together the definitive package, including what it is like to live with one for 30 years, Stephen Bayley’s take on the priceless Andy Warhol Art Car, the wonderfully improvised Procar racing series, the #BMW-M88 engine, and how – via the famous 2008 Hommage – the #BMW-M1 even helped to shape the groundbreaking #BMW-i8 .
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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 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 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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    / #ACS8 / #AC-Schnitzer-i8 / #BMW-i8 / #BMW-i8-AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer-ACS8 / #BMW-i8-Schnitzer / #BMW / #2017 / #BMW-i8 / BMW / #BMW-i-Series / #2017

    There’s no doubting that the star of the show as far as the #BMW-tuning companies were concerned was AC Schnitzer’s take on BMW’s i8. This example looked absolutely stunning in its metallic red wrap along with a selection of Schnitzer carbon fibre embellishments. We’ve seen a #Schnitzer-i8 previously but the company now offers more carbon parts for the car with a new front splitter assembly and some additional cooling ducts behind the front wheels and to the rear of the rear wheel arches.

    Sitting on lowered suspension and a set of trademark Schnitzer alloys it really did look absolutely eye-popping and it’s not hard to understand why the company’s programme for the i8 has been so successful – not only is it one of the few options on the market for those wishing to personalise their cars, but the fit and finish is second to none.
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