Motoring review: BMW i8 Coupe

This month motoring journalist Sue Cooke gets behind the wheel of the BMW i8 Coupe 

Facts at a glance:

Model: BMW i8 coupe | Price:  £112,730 otr | Power: Electric 143hp. Petrol 231hp. Total 374hp. | Performance:  0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph | CO2 emissions: 42g/km | Combined fuel consumption: 149.8mpg

Review of the i8 coupe

Flash but sustainable sums up BMW’s hybrid sports car, along with a lot of other expletives such as magnificent and stunning. I absolutely fell in love with the i8 coupe which is refreshed for 2018. Only 200 are expected to sell but that’s what makes it so attractive. For companies the tax breaks on the car which has CO2 emissions of 42g/km and combined fuel consumption of 149.8mpg are fantastic.

Introduced in 2014, the changes for 2018 include around 50 per cent more electric range, so the synchronous electric motor will achieve 34.17 miles. When called upon, the turbo charged 1.5 litre petrol engine combined with the electric motor generates a distinctive soundtrack which is hair raising! Other changes include 20-inch light-alloy wheels in a W-spoke design. The air vent on the bonnet is closed off and there are new colours E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic.

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As I open the gull wing doors forwards and upwards, I look down into the interior and wonder if I should venture inside and would I even get out! I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it all was though and I’m not that lithe. Once ensconced in the elegant (I’m running out of superlatives here) interior there is a sports steering wheel and multi-functional instrument display. Full leather upholstery is displayed in ivory white, but there is a choice. Controls are ceramic which adds to the luxury feel. For 2018, the head up display shows rev range and gear selector.

Out on the road, a typical commute through city traffic and along country roads can be negotiated with fuel consumption of over 56mpg when using both drive units. And pulling away the i8 coupe will reach speeds of up to 65mph purely on the electric motor’s power, making it possible to drive with zero emissions not just in town, but on country roads as well. And if the eDrive button is pressed, the all-electric threshold of both models is increased further to 75mph. I did find urban driving difficult with the amount of attention but only because this car attracts so much.

And for these glorious Summer months, your local dealership should now be hosting the new i8 roadster. Many features are similar but, on the roadster, an all-electric roof opens and closes within 16 seconds while travelling at speeds of up to 31mph. The fabric soft-top stows into a perpendicular position in the rear when opened, so takes up very little space. The three segments of the roof fold vertically in a Z-shape, leaving an additional 100 litres of storage space between the roof box and the seats, on top of the 88 litres of cargo space in the rear compartment.

When it comes to driver assistance systems, both the coupe and roadster are equipped as standard with a cruise control system with braking function as well as the Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, Park Distance Control with sensors at the front and rear, High Beam Assistant, Speed Limit including No Passing, and the Side View and Top View functions.

I found the car really easy to drive and to manoeuvre using the Surround view. The engine’s power is fed to the rear wheels through a six-speed Steptronic transmission, while the electric motor propels the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox. The end result is a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system that absolutely glues the car to the road.

For me, the one benefit which the BMW i8 roadster offers above the i8 coupe is being able to clearly hear the stunning resonating sound of the exhaust as sunlight caresses the face.  The perfect way to be green, but flash!

 

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