BMW i8 – Hybrid of the Future?
Those who own, or have test-driven, the BMW i8 say you can’t be shy because everywhere you go, people crowd around to take photos of the car that looks like it just drove out of a glossy movie or music video. Low to the ground, with doors made of carbon fibre and thermoplastic which swing upwards when opened, the car is more than just sleek and sporty. One owner described how his favourite line about the car was from a six-year-old girl outside a restaurant who asked him, “Is that car from the future?”
To be more specific, the BMW i8 is the world’s first and only petrol-electric hybrid supercar. The driving experience is unique due to the fact that the sports car seems to have two polar personalities. When in comfort mode, the car makes almost no sound at all, the lack of engine sound makes one feel almost like the car is gliding. When in sport mode, on the other hand, the car opens up and does 0-60 in less than four seconds. This is where things get loud. The engine is a 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder, mounted ahead of the rear wheels. The sound is augmented by audio that makes it sound like you are taming a wild beast of a vehicle. Up front, the car contains a plug-in electric battery. As the BMW website puts it, “No compromises, but instead the optimum combination of driving pleasure and responsibility.”
Environmentally conscious drivers will also appreciate the fact that wherever possible, the car is produced from renewable raw materials. Inside, there is a digital instrument panel with two large displays, and passengers sit in narrow aerodynamic seats. The car is instantly recognizable because of the v-shaped ‘black belt’ that begins on the hood and wraps around the body of the car to the rear.
Mercedes has the AMG GT, Audi has the R8, and now BMW has the i8.