It’s no surprise that the landscape is changing for the world of sports cars. These days, people aren’t interested in vehicles with loud and thirsty V8 engines. They want cars that are kinder to the environment. And they want to spend less time (and money) buying fuel for their pride and joys!
Hybrid motoring is a hot topic in the car world. When someone mentions “hybrid” to you, I’m willing to bet you think of cars like the Toyota Prius and the Lexus IS 300h. But, did you know that sports cars are also adopting hybrid technology?
One prime example happens to come not from Japan but a German carmaker. The BMW i8 is the company’s flagship hybrid sports car. It’s a vehicle that will give you a real insight into the future of motoring.
Now, the title of today’s blog post asks if the BMW i8 is the future of the sports car world. Well, given that everyone wants to lead a greener lifestyle, the answer is most certainly yes! Keep reading to find out more about the BMW i8 and why you will probably want to go out and buy one today:
A sports car with two beating hearts
As you might expect with any hybrid vehicle, there are two drivetrains. The first is the electric motor, while the second is a combustion engine. Let’s talk about the hybrid side of things first of all.
The hybrid part of the BMW i8 features a 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Attached to that is a synchronous electric motor that boasts 129 brake horsepower. If you drive the car on electric power alone, it will offer you a modest range of 15-23 miles. It all depends, of course, on your driving style.
It’s also got a lot of torque at 184 pound-foot. One reason electric power appeals in a sports car is the virtually instant power on tap. Watch any YouTube video of the BMW i8 launched using electric power alone and you’ll see for yourself.
Better still; take one out for a test drive from somewhere like Hilton Garage. I will guarantee you that you’ll never want to give the car back!
On to the combustion engine. You might think that a powerful six-cylinder TwinPower unit gets installed in the BMW i8. But, it might shock you to learn that the car only has a small engine! Lurking in the depths of the i8 is a compact 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. The turbocharged unit produces an astonishing 228 brake horsepower with 236 pound-foot of torque.
Connected to both drivetrains is a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 0-60 mph time of the BMW i8 is an incredible 4.3 seconds! In all-electric mode, the car has a top speed of 75 mph. If you’re using the petrol engine, that’s increased to 160 mph. You could probably go faster as the powerplant has an electronic limiter.
How green is this sports car?
Now we’ve talked about the electric motor and engine; it’s time to find out something else. I am, of course, talking about the car’s green credentials.
The first thing people will ask is what kind of CO2 emissions does it have. The answer: an insanely low 49 g/km! That translates to free road tax if you live in the UK. It also means that you can sleep better at night knowing you’ve lowered your carbon footprint.
The next question is to do with fuel consumption. Sure, that’s not really a deal breaker when you’re buying a sports car. But, for the sake of transparency, it’s worth mentioning. The BMW i8 has an official figure of 134.5 MPG combined.
Another thing you should know is that it only has a small 30-litre fuel tank. If you’re planning on using the i8 as your daily driver, you may need to fill up more often than you’d wish.
Still, the electric motor will take care of your short, local journeys. But, if you’re planning a sprint from London to Edinburgh, you’ll need to make a few pit stops along the way.
If the hybrid battery is running low, you can always charge it at home using an AC power cable. BMW claims it’ll take around eight hours to charge from flat. If you use their optional wall charging kit (around £315), you’ll get to 80% capacity in just two hours.
Gadgets and technology that any geek will relish
As you might expect from BMW, the i8 is a have for gadget geek lovers. Being a hybrid sports car, it’s not unreasonable for it to get packed with all kinds of tech goodies. So, what do you get as standard with the BMW i8?
When you’re sat in the driver’s seat, a raft of technology from the dashboard will look back at you. Let’s start with the infotainment system. It features the usual BMW refinements such as satellite navigation and a concierge service.
There’s also the driver assistance technology on offer. Examples include a 360-degree camera system. Meanwhile, a HUD (head-up display) negates the need to look down at your dials for speed checks.
Other technology includes the pre-selectable driving modes. There are three different ones – Comfort, Eco Pro and Sport. Each one optimises the i8’s power and fuel usage according to your needs.
Comfort mode only uses electric power until you reach 37 mph. After that, the 1.5-litre three-pot engine kicks in. Eco Pro is for the environmentally-conscious driver. It “adjusts” everything from your climate control to your transmission gear ratios. And for those that want some fun, there is the Sport mode!
If you want to drive on electric power alone, all you have to do is activate the eDrive button in the car. It’s available to use with both Comfort and Eco Pro modes.
When it comes to standard equipment, you’re in for a treat. You can enjoy things like DAB digital radio and dual-zone climate control. Other features include LED lighting and real-time traffic information.
So, when will you go and buy a BMW i8?