When the BMW i8 first debuted in 2014, it was a revolutionary design. It was the first mid-engine car to offer a carbon fiber passenger cell and a hybrid powertrain at anywhere near its price point. At the time, if you wanted another mid-engine, carbon fiber plug-in hybrid, you’d have to go with the million-dollar McLaren P1. The BMW i8 was just north of $100,000. Plus, it boasted a design from 2114, not 2014, and it looked incredible. Fast forward a few years and the i8 was still fantastic looking and it never lost its spaceship feel. That didn’t stop BMW from wanting to give it a slight refresh, though.
At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, BMW has debuting its newly facelifted i8 Coupe and i8 Roadster. The former is quite similar to the car that it replaces, as there aren’t many significant changes to the i8’s design. Then again, why fix what ain’t broke, right? The BMW i8 was already stunning, so there really wasn’t much to improve on. However, after seeing the newly refreshed i8 Coupe, we think BMW did a good job of slightly improving what it could have and keeping what it should have.
Despite not being much different looking than it was when it launched back in 2014, the BMW i8 Coupe is still unlike anything else on the road. It still looks more futuristic than anything you can currently buy and it still looks great. It’s really hard to find fault in the exterior design of the BMW i8. Inside, it’s not as radical or as interesting, with a sort of ho-hum interior. However, that’s almost a good thing, as the interior is sort of sobering after seeing the crazy exterior.
Powering the facelifted BMW i8 Coupe is a slightly updated variant of the same powertrain. So it still sports a 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor that powers the rear wheels and just an electric motor that powers the front. Now, though, those electric motors make a bit more grunt, so the total system power output is now 374 hp, up from 357 hp. That’s not a huge boost but it’s something. According to BMW, the i8 Coupe takes 4.4 seconds to hit 60 mph, although we expect it to be faster, considering many journalists have clocked the pre-LCI BMW i8 at faster than that.
The main aspect of the i8 is its design and its technology and, on that front, the i8 does not disappoint. Now that it’s been slightly updated, it looks slightly better. Which is really all we could ask for, considering how stunning it already was. Now, it’s just a bit more stunning.