• Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
There's little doubt that the 2015 BMW i8 is one of the most radical and groundbreaking performance cars this industry has seen in a long time. From its unique carbon-intensive construction to its 1.5-liter, three-cylinder and electric motor plug-in powertrain to its concept-car appearance, the flagbearer for BMW's new i venture challenges the very notion of what it takes to be a supercar.

Yet apparently the i8 almost didn't do that at all. Yes, it probably still would've had innovative assembly techniques, serious performance and come-hither bodywork, but according to a new report in the Telegraaf, it was very nearly a much more conventional beast, drawing its power from a V10 engine. According to the report, that line of development never got much beyond the drawing board, but BMW engineers then shifted their focus to both V8 and six-cylinder motivation, going so far as to build prototype cars. The higher cylinder-count engines were eventually dropped altogether after BMW decided to turn the i8 into a hybrid, with the six-cylinder reportedly nixed due to heat management and weight issues. In the end, of course, BMW went with the PHEV powertrain that offers a total system output of 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque – plenty of thrust for this lightweight, all-wheel drive coupe while still enabling an incredible 94 miles to the gallon on the EU cycle. Regardless of how it turned out, it's still fascinating to think that BMW didn't have a much firmer conceptual idea of what it was after when it started the i8's development.

Here at Autoblog, we're genuinely thrilled about this new generation of greener hybrid super- and hypercars, a movement spearheaded by the i8, Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1. But even so, our inner-gearheads can't help but wonder what might have been had BMW pursued a more conventional i8, either in place of, or in addition to, the car they did build. What do you think? Have your say in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      xxmixedxtapexx
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the best looking cars I've seen.
      John
      • 1 Year Ago
      if i ever see an i8 i can afford, used or new, I'm buying it
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      We will probably find out what compromises starting as a gas car caused once it is released and it gets driven. Starting from a clean slate and building a dedicated platform from the ground up is one of Tesla Model S's greatest advantages. No compromises.
        Apex
        • 1 Year Ago
        @raktmn
        Enough already on the Tesla praise. Not that I am a BMW flag waver, but this is not a compromised vehicle. Designers sketch out the exterior for a low slung coupe, they got to some mule builds and determined to go PHEV. The vehicle was developed around that. End of story. Tesla is not some magical manufacturer, they have plenty of shortcomings, but lots of good PR right now (so did Fisker in the beginning). The Tesla platform is developed for a full EV which is completely different.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Apex
          [blocked]
      LegacyGT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Probably a good choice. There's a lot of buzz about this car. But with a more conventional powertrain and it would have been BMW's LF-A -- a great achievement but ultimately forgettable.
        Bill
        • 1 Year Ago
        @LegacyGT
        Except it's price is similar to a M6...
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      It kind of seems like a cop out. This way they don't have to go head-to-head with Audi and Porsche.
        Bill
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ferps
        Then no one would be developing new type of cars
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks expensive and cheesy at the same time. Hopefully it's not too compromised.
        johnb
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        If pontiac took a volt and made a sportscar it would look something like this, only more cheap looking and rough around the edges.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whatever. At $125K, it is nothing but a niche halo car.
      nineeleventothecore
      • 1 Year Ago
      According to official BMW documents, "i" stands for "douchebag quotient". BMW predicts that this "i" car will drive the douchebags to their dealerships like zombies. They will walk over/past the standard 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8...series cars in order to get to this one!
      shorsturr251
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the rear end looks like it swallowed a silver 991 body 911.
        JJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @shorsturr251
        ok, I see it now.
          Jason
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JJ
          Haha. Also a little BMW z8 in there.
        JJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @shorsturr251
        I dont see that at all, i read a comment somewhere saying that the i8 reminded them of the porsche 944!
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Eta Carinae
      • 1 Year Ago
      To be honest my only grip about the car is the headlights.......the angel eyes on the concept mad it look menacing.....the strip running around them now is very pedestrian........after that it is a nice take on a hybird sports car.......the NSX though might give it some problems and I'm not even a acura fan.
      flammablewater
      • 1 Year Ago
      Now I'm imagining a V10 in the i8 that makes the same noise as the LFA.
        ksrcm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @flammablewater
        If you think of the sound that V10 makes as "noise", may I suggest retirement home instead of Autoblog? :)
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