BMW i8 NEW ARRIVAL
Date acquired November #2016
Total mileage 5550
Mileage this month 3947
Costs this month £0
Mpg this month 38.1
Always intriguing, but never a group-test winner, will a longterm test show BMW’s £104,000 hybrid coupe at its best?
Life is full of contrasts, and contrasts don’t get much bigger than walking away from six months of RS6 Performance custodianship and into a BMW i8. From 597bhp, 4 litres, eight cylinders and two turbos to 1.5 litres, three cylinders, 262bhp and one 95bhp electric motor. Drive still goes to all four wheels, but with the BMW having two fewer gears to shuffle, that is where the similarities begin and end.
For the next six months the ferocious acceleration of the Audi will be replaced by the serene and all-but-silent thrust of BMW’s carbon-core hybrid coupe. Beyond that, I’m not sure exactly what to expect at this moment, but I’d like to see some semblance of the i8 being a proper sports coupe and a benefit of ditching some cylinders and lugging some super-sized AA batteries around.
Evo’s i8 has a number of questions to answer between now and the summer. Is it a sports car?
Is it a revolution of the breed and the first taste of what we can expect in the future? Can it entertain and delight? Will it fire our imaginations and play a part in great drives? Can it deliver on the thrill of driving? Previous drives of i8s have come close to delivering an answer to some of those questions. But only close. Few of us at evo have walked away from an i8 regaling others with tales of epic journeys and drives never to be erased from the memory. None of us has felt it has ever got under our skin nor become the default answer to the question: ‘Which sports coupe should I buy?’ Over the coming months and many miles we will have the opportunity to discover if BMW’s hybrid coupe is the real deal or a style (and technology) over substance machine.
What exactly are we running, then? There’s only one i8 trim level and it costs £104,540 basic. BMW’s generous press office, however, has added £12,065 of toys to our car. There’s £1700 for carbonfibre interior trim, £1150 for W-spoke alloy wheels (still 20 inches in diameter), ‘Comfort Access’ at £795, £85 for eDrive exterior sound (need to work that one out), £95 for an internet connection, £895 for a Harman/ Kardon stereo upgrade and £1850 for a Carpo Carum Grey interior.
And then there is the £5495 of Post Production Applied Special Paint, which required the removal of all the body panels to have them repainted in Twilight Purple Pearl before being refitted. It’s a process currently available only in the UK.
First impressions are light, as I took custody of the i8 just seven days before typing this, so it’s still all a bit new. The wife is going to complain about the lack of luggage/ shopping space and I’m going to need to remember to charge the batteries to make the most of the i8’s abilities. But it’s going to be an intriguing journey, nonetheless.