CAR Magazine test drives and reviews the new BMW i8. BMWBLOG also had a chance to drive the car on the road and on the track last summer and despite being a not-ready-for-production model, it managed to impress us. Read BMW i8 – BMWBLOG First Drive.
Here is an excerpt from their review:
“Let’s go for it. One stab at the start button, and the system jumps to a busy amber-over-blue digital life. Next, we push the eDrive button for pure electric driving, and to start molesting the fully-charged battery. The range indicator reads 35km (25 miles) – what a splendid illusion! The i8 takes off with silent verve, accelerating briskly to 50mph and onto its zero-emission top speed of 75mph.
The electric motor, mounted in the nose, sends 184lb ft of instant torque to the front axle via a two-speed automatic. Push the accelerator beyond a detent, and the i8 switches from front-wheel e-drive to four-wheel drive, as the combustion engine automatically cuts in, turning the rear wheels. The turbocharged, three-cylinder unit feels smooth and progressive, and for now appears wrapped in cotton wool it’s so acoustically detached. In eDrive, the i8 is all a bit eco-friendly and measured, more in line with the city car character of its i3 sister car than the sporty soul you’d expect.
On the race track, the projected range was plummeting so fast that the on-board computer kept suggesting new charge points by the minute – high time to engage Eco Pro. This mode coordinates the three-cylinder engine and the e-motor for optimum efficiency. It also reduces the AC output from a breeze to a hiss, or minimises the drain from bum warmers or mirror heaters. Lift off and the i8 slows sharply, and the computer may decide to harvest this energy to charge the battery. Alternatively, the i8 may slip into coasting mode, if your driving style, the traffic density and intelligent sat-nav permit – it calculates when to store up energy on a journey, to guarantee electric drive in an upcoming low emissions zone, for example. Play it right, and Eco Pro can extend the range over the regular Comfort mode, from 310 to 370 miles.”