The BMW i8 is unlike most cars on the road. With its only natural competitors being seven-figure hybrid hypercars, it’s hard to gauge the i8 against real-world competition. It’s also difficult to put the i8 through a standard series of tests because it’s just not a standard style of car. But Car and Driver recently did an in-depth review, discussing each and every aspect of the car. So let’s see how it did.
In terms of looks, the BMW i8 crushes it. There isn’t a more stunning car on the road. Are there cars that are prettier? Yep, cars like the Jaguar F-Type can make knees weak. But there isn’t anything as mind-blowingly different than the BMW i8. It looks like it’s been pulled straight out of a Phillip K. Dick novel. There are body lines, swoops and curves that simply don’t exist on any other car. It’s flat-out awesome.
Inside, Car and Driver isn’t too impressed. To be honest, I think the interior of the i8 can be a bit subjective. The idea of the i8’s cabin is to be futuristic and minimalist, while also being rather calm and serene. C&D isn’t enthused and feels that it’s a bit too un-exciting, especially when compared to the exterior. One interesting complaint C&D had was with the infotainment system and it might be the only modern complaint of modern BMW iDrive system.
As far as performance is concerned, the BMW i8 is interesting. If you compare it to supercars, it’s not that impressive. Its 357 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque combine to get the i8 from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat. Compare to literally any other supercar, or even some much more modest sports cars, the BMW i8 is unimpressive. But considering that it’s a three-cylinder hybrid, that’s lightning fast. It also handles well but not McLaren well, which is understandable but can be disappointing if your expectations are leaning more toward a traditional supercar. But the BMW i8 is a hybrid supercar that’s designed to push the supercar into the future and give the world a taste of what that future will be like.
Which means that fuel economy is an equal priority to performance for the i8. If the battery is fully charged, the BMW i8’s economy is actually quite impressive. C&D tested its combined MPGe, to which they received 38 MPGe. That’s absurdly good for a supercar but not so impressive for a typical hybrid. It can also do 15 miles of pure electric range, which is also great for a supercar but not so great for a hybrid. So it’s a mixed bag, depending on your expectations.
Overall, Car and Driver gave the BMW i8 four out of five stars, mostly for its design and performance and that is quite high praise. However, judging the BMW i8 by standard criteria might be missing the point of the i8. It’s in a class of one at the moment, as there isn’t another hybrid, mid-engine supercar at anywhere near its price point on the market. It’s a car that dabbles in the future, proving that supercars and hybrids don’t have to be mutually exclusive and that you don’t need to be Warren Buffet to own one. Comparing a BMW i8 to a standard criteria meant to judge Toyota Camrys and Mercedes S-Classes alike just doesn’t make much sense. The BMW i8 is a fantastic blend of supercar performance with hybrid fuel economy that’s literally impossible to combine in any other car for anywhere near its price. If that’s the sort of thing you’re after and can appreciate, the BMW i8 is the only car that can provide it for you.