BMW has spent the better part of a century building its reputation with fossil-burning transportation, but now it's banking heavily on the success of its new i family of electric vehicles. In order to succeed, it will need to sell examples of the i3, but sell the idea with the i8. And in order to do so, it is going to need some out-of-the-box promotional thinking. And that's just what it seems to have done with this latest campaign of television commercials.

The series of three (or at least that's how many have been released thus far) ads wax more poetic than most of the car ads we've seen. But while they might skimp on the technical details, they don't skip over the talent. The videos are the work of Oscar-nominated director Gus Van Sant, the cinematic artist best known for films like Good Will Hunting, Milk and Finding Forrester.

Van Sant has also solicited the voices of Sam Hazeldine (Caleb from Resurrection), Sting's daughter Mickey Sumner (Sophie from Frances Ha) and Michael Pitt (Jimmy from Boardwalk Empire), but doesn't hide them behind the microphone in the recording studio. Instead they serve as the face of Bavaria's new hybrid sports car, and the results are rather stunning. See for yourself in the trio of videos below.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 7 Months Ago
      Beautiful car with interesting technology., well done BMW. It's a little disappointing to see comments denigrating any vehicle offering EV technology, if it not Tesla. It's great to see other car makes, especially luxury makers, incorporating EV technology. It seems that a certain percentage of EV fans seen to believe Tesla is the only ideologically virtuous vehicle, and delight in disapproving of all others. This displays a desire to be "politically correct", or part of a fan group, a bit juvenile and a little sad. It's also sad to see so many American's hating the recently released Cadillac ELR. The desire to see GM fail, and for the Cadillac marque never regain it's status as one of the world leading prestige vehicles, seems politically motivated, not a real appraisal of the car itself. The ELR, like it's more economical sibling the Volt/Ampera is an astonishing example of US technology at it's best. Both vehicles deserve more respect from Americans, especially those who bemoan the loss of US employment. There's room for all types of EV technology to survive and prosper, without being constantly being dismissed for "not being Tesla" !
      artso06
      • 7 Months Ago
      Nice work BMW. Inspirational. Only thing that kills me is that BMW "tone" at the end. Sounds like a jarring windows shut down noise...
      cruzer
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'd rather have a Cadillac ELR than this. Heck I'd even take a Volt over this. BMW May be coming out with electric stuff but Cadillac is going to be right there too. Go Cadillac!
        fran
        • 7 Months Ago
        @cruzer
        Who in their right mind will ever buy an ELR/Volt over this i8?! You're a die-hard GM fan who's blinded to believe that GM products are above all else or a terrible troll.
          cruzer
          • 7 Months Ago
          @fran
          GM fan and proud of it!
          DarylMc
          • 7 Months Ago
          @fran
          Hi fran Yeah ELR is expensive but to GM's credit you don't hear much bad about the Volt drivetrain. Well I certainly haven't. It's one of a very few GM products that has ever interested me.
          fran
          • 7 Months Ago
          @fran
          Either*
        Jai
        • 7 Months Ago
        @cruzer
        It's okay if the elr/volt is all you can afford, but the i8 is in a different league. Sorry to burst your bubble and enjoy your Chevy Cruze. GM fanboys never cease to amaze me
          cruzer
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Jai
          You don't even make any sense...ELR all I can afford? The ELR is a luxury car, it's expensive. If all I could afford is an ELR I'd be doing pretty good lol. i8 in a different league? How so? Cadillac is in the same league as BMW, they both are competing for the same customers and build cars of the same class. What I don't understand is why ppl get so upset when someone likes GM, it's funny.
        Brodz
        • 7 Months Ago
        @cruzer
        The i8 is a sports car mate... it would eat the VoltELR alive.
          Snowdog
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Brodz
          Unless they were both in EV mode, where the i8 is actually slower than the Volt.
        M5_4_life
        • 7 Months Ago
        @cruzer
        cover up, your gm fanboism is showing!
      Brodz
      • 7 Months Ago
      I am... not convinced. Tesla seems to be well ahead of the game. And Tesla don't use a lower case 'i' in their naming scheme... which is even better.
      EZen
      • 7 Months Ago
      I've seen this car in pictures a ton of times and even in person at an auto show. I just can't stand how it looks. I'd get the Tesla Model S or eventual Model E every single time over this.
        nettsu
        • 7 Months Ago
        @EZen
        I saw the vision dynamics concept at the melbourne motorshow - and it was breathtaking!
      Thunderbuck
      • 7 Months Ago
      The ads are beautiful and--dare I say it?--moving. The BMW i-series shouldn't take away from Tesla, since they're really going for different segments here. While this isn't the first hybrid sports car, it does appear to be the first one that will be marketed as such; the ads seem crafted to deliberately defy critics of hybrid tech. Personally, I love it; cars like the i8 demonstrate that we can create exciting cars with more efficient technology.
        DarylMc
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Thunderbuck
        Hey Thunderbuck I didn't think the ads were that moving:) But like you I think it's a great thing for BMW to bring more efficient cars to the market. Even if the decision to implement carbon fibre bodies to the market struggles to show immediate advantages, I think it is a huge step forward for automobiles.
      bvh
      • 7 Months Ago
      Just because a Tesla has a battery you can't compare it to the i8. They are totally different cars in totally different segments. You might as well compare all cars since they all have batteries (at least small ones).
      • 7 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      mary2al
      • 7 Months Ago
      What's different about the segments of i8 and Tesla S?
        eric.sales
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mary2al
        My Tesla S has no old school fossil engine none at all and less moving parts and more room it's a real EV not a mixmash car.
        Brodz
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mary2al
        i8 has a hybrid drivetrain. The engine is a turbo 3 cylinder and electric motor/s.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mary2al
        About $50,000 difference. The S85 starts at $80k, the i8 starts at $135k Tesla haters are fond of calling the Model S a $100k car... since so many people like to option it much higher than stock.
        ChrisH
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mary2al
        the i8 is an exotic car where styling, technology, and more, are combined in one very special car. The Tesla hits it on technology but styling was way too generic and its not that exotic. Not to take away from the Tesla, but honestly only its propulsion system turns heads and hearts.
        Snowdog
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mary2al
        Tesla is a full on EV. The i8 is more of a gas powered car with a very limited plug-in capability. The Chevy Volt has a better EV mode than the i8. Volt is faster and much longer range in EV mode.
      esankar8907
      • 7 Months Ago
      This car looks odd from most angles, not a fan. Then like most other manufacturers, they totally copied the LED lights from Audi, front and back.
      SpaceGhost
      • 7 Months Ago
      Beautiful Dash and center column layout. If Tesla would fix that empty space beneath the 30 inch iPad and put a proper center column and offered a coupe Model S, then the electric market would become even more impressive.
        LynxFX
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SpaceGhost
        You can get a center console below the center display screen in the Tesla. It is an option.
    • Load More Comments