On the posh streets of London one certain BMW i8 can be seen these days. Wrapped in a military-style camouflage, the i8 belongs to CSK Automotive and aims to bring as many eyeballs to its body style as possible. And while the funky wrap job can do that on its own, the tuning shop decided to also slap a massive racing wing on the booth of the i8, the progressive hybrid not known for its track days – unless you’re in the Formula E race.
It goes without saying that the racing wing is an overkill on this car, one that has been already aerodynamically optimized beyond its means and one that sits closer to the ground than most BMWs today. The flamboyant look is even more useless on public roads, but considering its marketing plan, we would that it has succeeded to draw everyone’s attention.
While the standard i8 can hang out on the track with the big boys, its sole purpose was different from the get-go. BMW has decided to build a progressive hybrid sports car that will embed its latest tech advancements in lightweight construction and hybrid technology, all wrapped up in the most attractive design package they offer today. It goes without saying that the i8 needs no extra gimmicks to stand out in a crowd of cars, but considering this is London where supercars are the norm, the extra help maybe was indeed required.
The plug-in hybrid drive system powering the BMW i8 combines the performance of a sports car with the fuel economy of a far smaller model. The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 231 hp and drives the rear wheels, while the 131 hp electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a conventional domestic power socket and sends its power to the front axle.
The higher-output of the two power sources drives the rear wheels and uses the electric boost from the hybrid system to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure while at the same time offering groundbreaking levels of efficiency. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 4.4 seconds, yet combined fuel consumption – as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles – stands at 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers (122 mpg) plus 11.9 kWh of electricity. This equates to CO2 emissions of 49 grams per kilometer while still offering customers adrenaline shots you could only dream of getting inside proper supercars.