May 2025, Santa Monica, California.
Well not really. But if this all new BMW i8 pulled up to your door you'd THINK it was 2025 or very far into the future.
We got a chance to drive it for the first time this week and although I'm not a huge fan of green cars (not because I'm against the concept but because the battery technology to allow them to become mainstream is still not small or inexpensive enough) it is a great experience seeing how far the manufacturers are progressing in the field.
2015 BMW i8 Official Press Launch Full Photo Gallery
Obviously, Tesla got a huge jump in this area but the usual suspects like BMW are NOT sitting still which you will see in a moment.
First, let's look at the technical details and features:
The BMW i8 was purpose-designed as BMW’s first plug-in hybrid sports car with agile performance attributes and exceptional efficiency, and features a bespoke version of the LifeDrive architecture developed for BMW i cars. The combustion engine and electric motor, battery pack, power electronics, chassis components and structural and crash functions are arranged together in the aluminum Drive module, while the central element of the Life module is the CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) passenger cell.
Sustainable from the ground up.
An all-embracing sustainability concept is running like a thread through the value chain. The carbon fiber production and vehicle assembly is using 100-per cent renewable electricity. The all-encompassing approach of the BMW i brand also includes the extensive use of recycled, renewable raw and naturally treated materials.
The accent strips on the seats, the door trim, roof liner, floor mats, body pillar trim and floor covering use materials from an innovative recycling process including recyclable PET combined with 40 percent virgin wool to create a high-grade cover fabric.
The BMW i8’s ultra-dynamic proportions, elegantly sporty lines, low slung silhouette and innovative design features faithfully communicate the performance attributes of the sports car of the future.
Specs are cool but in the end all that matters is the how it drives and performs.
As a green car skeptic, I'm happy to report that the i8 is spectacular in virtually every single way.
Think of it as a more responsible and HOTTER looking R8. And YES, in this space LOOKS MATTER.
The Audi R8 is one of our favorite vehicles of all time but the i8 is fresher, more contemporary and more menacing in appearance on the street.
And if looks on the street by the folks are any measure of success, then this i8 is already a grand slam homerun.
In all of our real world testing, we've yet to be in a vehicle where we saw more people pulling out the smartphones to grab their own pic to show their friends. It was a lens MAGNET in LA.
And as sexy as it is outside, the interior compliments its gorgeousness. Something the Audi R8 has always disappointed us with. The R8 to us is too stark, sterile and plain.
The i8 on the other hand is an ergonomics experts dream following the latest BMW interior language albeit with a larger dose of futuristic in it.
But pressing the start button is where the real fulfillment steps in with this new BMW SuperCar.
Basically, it is a mad scientists dream combining the electric motor from the i3 with the most insanely cool 3 cylinder engine ever made. And the combo is magic.
I know what you're thinking...THREE CYLINDERS in a super car LOL!
Well drive this and the joke will be on you because this bad boy goes 0-60 in just over four seconds and you just CANNOT believe the intoxicating exhaust sound the 3 banger produces. It is NO joke. If you told someone the engine was from the Ferrari Dino and they heard the i8 exhaust they would ABSOLUTELY believe you.
It's THAT good.
We only had a few hours in it but OMG they could have been the some of the best we've ever experienced.
EVERY SINGLE CHANCE WE HAD WE HAMMERED THE THROTTLE so we could feel the power and hear that gorgeous sound coming out of it. If you drove a Lambo like that you would have been getting about .00001 MPG but here is where the real genius comes out in the i8.
Drive like a MANIAC and still get at least 25MPG! Does it get any better than that?
You can have your cake and eat it too!
There is even a visual sizzle the i8 offers that is cooler than most of the competitors. Every time you tap the gear shift over to the left to put it into sport mode, the instrument display morphs from a cool blue to devilish orange.
It's quite a car and a technological tour de force not only in the green space but also in the mix of all other super cars.
The lucky few who will get to own one are in for the experience of a lifetime. Such an easy ride to drive. It could almost BE your daily driver.
An amazing show of engineering strength in the green space. Drives like a super car but gives you great full electric range of 22 miles and sips gas like a 3-Series. It feels SO right behind the wheel and you may never want to get out if it. Lovely, functional and beautiful interior. IT'S gorgeous inside and out and it is THE car if you WANT to get noticed.
You cannot get the Euro laser lights but BMW assured us they are working with the DOT and hopefully they will get approval. Unfortunately for you if you buy one, they won't be able to be retrofit later. But the good news is you WON'T be able to buy one because the the production is already spoken for by people already on waiting lists so the laser light issue won't matter for you.
BMW cheaped out on the headliner. Should have been alcantara or some exotic green sustainable material vs. the same headliner material from a 1-series.
BMW i8 WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!
Enjoy the full gallery of photos here...There are photos and then there are AUTO SPIES photos!
2015 BMW i8 Official Press Launch Full Photo Gallery