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Nice One BMW, You've Jumped The Gun

It is of course widely regarded that the Germans are at the top of everything refinement-wise when it comes to cars. You can't get much better than a Mercedes S-Class. They have you covered for super-saloons too; the M5, RS6 and E63 are all machines that have been finely tuned over the years to borderline perfection.

But let's focus on BMW for now. Constantly they face stiff competition from the rivals, but you've got to admit the current 3-series has got the A4 and C-class under its whip. So BMW must've been a bit bored in the office, now their job was done.



"Let's create a car called the i8"
"Sure, why not? We have nothing else to do."

Ok, ok, that's an obviously fake situation. The i8 has been a concept since 2009. And, of course, BMW have loads of other models to keep in competitive condition. But that i8, though. When it was first shown five years ago, it was met with a mixture of amazement and dismissal.

The 2009 concept

The amazement obviously came from the looks; BMW have never produced something so daringly pretty before, it was as right wing as banning gay rights. Yes, I just went there, and I'm not going any further. But the dismissal came because people regarded it as "just another concept car" that is for a bit of a 'look what we can do!' kind of thing.

Fast forward to 2014, and we now have the production ready BMW i8. It hasn't changed one bit since the concept. Bloody hell, that's impressive. And I'm saying that before we get to the spec sheet.

The real deal. Colours are slightly muted, but that's it. Well done, BMW.
Under the sci-fi hood of the car, we find a rather hum-drum 1.5L three-pot petrol engine nicked from the current Mini. However, it has been boosted to give a pretty eye opening 231bhp (from a three-cylinder!) and 236lb/ft of torque. Clearly, that is enough oomph to give the i8 a decent sports car pace, but the guys obviously didn't decide it was enough. So next to it, they shoehorned an electric motor which gives an additional 131bhp and 184lb/ft. Do your maths, and you get 362bhp and, more crucially, a stonking 420lb/ft.

This allows the i8 to almost breach supercar territory, despite only having half the power. How does it breach it, then? Well, as well as having that insane torque figure, you need to remember that 184lb/ft of it is available from ANY revs, thanks to the electric motor. This gives acceleration sprints very attractive figures indeed; 4.9 seconds to 60 in a heavy sports car with 'only' 360bhp.

It looks like a normal BMW interior that's been stretched in funky ways.

But, and it's a biggie, is the i8 a bit too modern for it's own good? The internals are fine and very attractive (as long as you can live with fake engine noises being played through your speakers), but those looks mean you will get stared at. A lot.

Some people like the attention of course, but many prefer the sleeper style of car. The i8 looks like it has just arrived from 2025. Good or not? That's up to you. What we do know is that a lot of the other manufacturers have a lot of catching up to do.

Your move, Planet Earth.


Nice One BMW, You've Jumped The Gun Nice One BMW, You've Jumped The Gun Reviewed by Jack Cooper on 15:45 Rating: 5

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