BMW enthusiasts have been begging the Bavarian brand for a supercar for a very long time, a car to replace the iconic BMW M1. The closest car we’ve gotten to a proper supercar from BMW is the i8. While not a traditional supercar, the i8 is still a fast, mid-engine exotic with stunning looks. However, its excitement starts to fade when it’s looked at next to a proper supercar, like the Audi R8 Spyder. In this latest video from Cars.co.za, we take a look at a comparison between the two cars.
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First up is the BMW i8. On a technical level, there aren’t many cars more impressive than the i8. Its a carbon fiber, mid-engine supercar with a plug-hybrid powertrain that’s capable of 0-60 mph in four seconds. That powertrain consists of a turbocharged 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine, paired with an electric motor and six-speed automatic, that powers the rear wheels and an electric motor that powers the front wheels. There’s no physical connection between the front and rear wheels, so it’s all done by computer. And the i8’s brain is very good at making it all work together seamlessly.
The only real downside to the i8 is somewhat its lack of emotions. Once you get over its incredible body work and step inside, it’s a pretty flat experience. It’s impressive, sure, and it’s a car that appeals to the mind. However, its lack of real engine noise doesn’t appeal to the heart. That’s where the Audi R8 Spyder comes in.
After listening to the artificially-enhance three-cylinder engine of the i8, the Audi R8 Spyder’s 5.2 liter, 540 hp, naturally-aspirated V10 engine is operatic, violent and beautiful. It’s a celebration of an internal combustion engine working. It burbles and growls at low revs, but wails and screams as it gets closer to its 8,250 rpm redline. Its steering is more communicative, its chassis more dynamic and its performance is far more brutal.
While the BMW i8 is a wildly impressive technology demonstration wrapped in a UFO, the Audi R8 Spyder is celebration of what cars are supposed to be. The i8 appeals to the intellect. The Audi R8 appeals to the heart.