The heart of the i8 is BMW's unique hybrid drivetrain. An electric motor sends up to 129 hp through the front wheels via a 2-speed automatic transmission, while a 3-cylinder turbocharged engine sends up to 228 hp to the rear wheels, via a 6-speed automatic. The result is a combined 357 hp sent through all-four wheels, and while the strange combination of transmissions might sound like it would produce a jerky ride, the reality is that the i8 drives incredibly smoothly. It's fast too, sixty miles an hour is reached in a claimed 4.2 seconds.
All that speed would be useless if the i8 didn't handle well. Luckily, the unconventional drivetrain has allowed BMW to distribute the weight of the car in a way that is beneficial to high performance driving. The gasoline engine is rear mounted, giving the i8 outstanding grip coming out of corners, while the all-wheel drive system provides abundant stability.
The BMW i8 has five different driving modes, each one greatly altering how the car drives. Drivers can go for the sport setting, to get better throttle response and manual shifting, or they can sedately ride around in comfort mode, with softer suspension. They can even use the car in pure electric mode; plugging it in back at their house for short trips, without wasting any gas.
In addition to being a great performance car, the i8 also makes a pretty spectacular grand tourer. Standard features include an 11-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, a navigation system with a full color 8.8-inch flat-screen display, BMW apps for iOS and Android, SiriusXM and HD radio, 6-way power adjustable front seats with 3-stage heating, automatic 2-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, park distance control, dynamic cruise control, 20-inch wheels and trick scissor doors that make getting into and out of the car in a crowded parking lot a snap.
With regards to safety, the i8 is well supplied. An active driving assistant includes an around view monitor, a frontal collision warning system and speed limit info, while a BMW assist eCall system provides drivers with an SOS button in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Powerful, Hybrid Drivetrain
Excellent Fuel Economy
Plug-in Hybrid Capability
A brand-new model in 2014, the BMW i8 is a high-performance hybrid-powered sports car. The i8 is unique in that it aims to give drivers the best of both worlds, putting an emphasis on both fuel efficiency and speed. The i8 is the kind of car that just wouldn't have been possible as little as five years ago. But thanks to advances in technology, the impossible isn't just possible; it's being sold in dealerships all across the country.
The BMW i8 is first and foremost a high end sports car. It competes with other high end sports cars and entry level supercars such as the Audi R8, the Porsche 911 and the Nissan GT-R. But it's the i8's looks that initially make it stand out from the crowd. The i8 looks like nothing else on the road, with swooping shapes and curves that sometimes make it look less like a car and more like some creation from a sci-fi movie. Of course, with its hybrid drivetrain, all-wheel drive and futuristic interior, the i8 is more than capable of backing up its good looks. With a base price of around $136,000, the i8 is far from cheap, but it is also capable of doing things no other car can, while returning decent fuel economy in the process.