Since the BMW i8’s debut, fans have been wondering what it would be like with a proper motor. Sure, its hybrid powertrain is technically impressive and makes it faster than one might originally assume but it lacks the same thrill or excitement that’s promised by its futuristic looks. So many fans have been wondering what the i8 might be like without a hybrid powertrain and a powerful gasoline engine in its place. Wonder no longer, as the folks at Belgium Motorsports have just done in.
BM’s BMW i8 V8 GTR is, in a nutshell, an i8 with a BMW S65 V8 swapped into its chassis. Okay, so it’s not really an i8 so much as it is a bespoke race car with sort of an i8 body on it. Much of its frame is tubular and the body comes apart like a proper race car, so it’s not actually just an i8 with a V8. It’s still cool, though.
That S65 V8 makes 540 hp in this guise and powers a car that only weighs 2,425, which is almost 1,000 lbs lighter than the actual BMW i8. So it’s seriously fast. It also sounds damn good, as all S65-powered cars do. But what this race car does more than anything else is make us think.
What if you took a BMW i8, swapped out its hybrid powertrain, front-mounted electric motor and myriad of electronics and put a gasoline engine in its place. Swap in a B58 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 with 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which would give the i8 about the same power as it currently has but with way less weight and way more noise. Also give it a dual-clutch gearbox and rear-wheel drive.
That powertrain/drivetrain combo in a carbon fiber, mid-engine BMW sports car? Sounds like the recipe for a modern day BMW M1 to me. Hey, people in Munich, can you please make this happen? Sincerely, all BMW fans.