Base 2dr All-wheel Drive Coupe
2015 BMW i8

MSRP

$136,500
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EngineEngine I-3
MPGMPG City / Hwy
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2015 i8 Overview

When car geeks encounter a rare automobile, they say they've seen a unicorn.The BMW i8, however, is a different animal.With its otherworldly design, wing-like doors and cutting-edge technology, we'd say this plug-in hybrid is a Pegasus, with bits of Tron and the Terminator thrown in for good measure.

The BMW i8 is like nothing else on the road, inside or out.It catches the attention of everyone it passes, with its low, wide stance, heavily sculpted lines and contrasting color schemes.Beneath its skin of aluminum, carbon fiber and thermoplastic is a lightweight passenger compartment made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), bolted to an aluminum shell that houses the i8's plug-in hybrid architecture.

Powering the BMW i8 is a unique hybrid system.In front, there's a 129-horsepower electric motor, the same used in BMW's i3 electric car.Power is sent through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.In back, there's a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gasoline turbocharged engine powering the rear wheels that makes 228 hp and 236 lb.-ft.of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic.A second, 11-hp electric motor in the rear helps acceleration off the line, with instant torque that compensates for the gas engine's turbo lag.These work together for a total output of 357 horsepower and a hearty 420 pound-feet of torque.A long, 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack runs down the center of the car, in the space where a drive shaft would normally be.

The BMW i8 can dash from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, which might not sound like much compared to newer gasoline-sucking speed machines, but it's quite impressive considering the hybrid powertrain.That's just one-tenth of a second shy of BMW's estimated 0-60 mph time for the newest M3 and M4 sports cars, and considerably quicker than the all-electric Tesla Model S, with its 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds.

But the BMW i8 is not a track car.Rather, it's a versatile sports car that excels as a daily commuter or a weekend canyon carver.Three drive modes produce three distinct driving characteristics: Eco Pro maximizes efficiency and energy recovery; Comfort mode favors electric power at lower speeds and uses the gasoline engine at higher speeds and revs; Sport mode is for maximum power and performance with an electric e-Boost function, more athletic steering and quicker shifts.

In electric mode, the BMW i8 can go up to 22 miles without using the gas engine, at speeds of up to 75 mph.Though, as with all electrified cars, range can vary greatly depending on driving style, and air conditioning uses up the battery much faster: We got 9.2 miles of electric range with the A/C set at 73 degrees and the fan on the lowest setting.Total range for the BMW i8 is an estimated 310 miles combined with a full charge and a full tank of gas.Charging time is about 3.5 hours using a 110-volt household outlet, or about 1.5 hours using a 240-volt fast charger.Fuel economy for the 2014 BMW i8 is an estimated 94 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), whatever that means.

Though it's technically a body-on-frame …
Full Review

2015 i8 Overview

When car geeks encounter a rare automobile, they say they've seen a unicorn.The BMW i8, however, is a different animal.With its otherworldly design, wing-like doors and cutting-edge technology, we'd say this plug-in hybrid is a Pegasus, with bits of Tron and the Terminator thrown in for good measure.

The BMW i8 is like nothing else on the road, inside or out.It catches the attention of everyone it passes, with its low, wide stance, heavily sculpted lines and contrasting color schemes.Beneath its skin of aluminum, carbon fiber and thermoplastic is a lightweight passenger compartment made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), bolted to an aluminum shell that houses the i8's plug-in hybrid architecture.

Powering the BMW i8 is a unique hybrid system.In front, there's a 129-horsepower electric motor, the same used in BMW's i3 electric car.Power is sent through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.In back, there's a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gasoline turbocharged engine powering the rear wheels that makes 228 hp and 236 lb.-ft.of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic.A second, 11-hp electric motor in the rear helps acceleration off the line, with instant torque that compensates for the gas engine's turbo lag.These work together for a total output of 357 horsepower and a hearty 420 pound-feet of torque.A long, 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack runs down the center of the car, in the space where a drive shaft would normally be.

The BMW i8 can dash from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, which might not sound like much compared to newer gasoline-sucking speed machines, but it's quite impressive considering the hybrid powertrain.That's just one-tenth of a second shy of BMW's estimated 0-60 mph time for the newest M3 and M4 sports cars, and considerably quicker than the all-electric Tesla Model S, with its 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds.

But the BMW i8 is not a track car.Rather, it's a versatile sports car that excels as a daily commuter or a weekend canyon carver.Three drive modes produce three distinct driving characteristics: Eco Pro maximizes efficiency and energy recovery; Comfort mode favors electric power at lower speeds and uses the gasoline engine at higher speeds and revs; Sport mode is for maximum power and performance with an electric e-Boost function, more athletic steering and quicker shifts.

In electric mode, the BMW i8 can go up to 22 miles without using the gas engine, at speeds of up to 75 mph.Though, as with all electrified cars, range can vary greatly depending on driving style, and air conditioning uses up the battery much faster: We got 9.2 miles of electric range with the A/C set at 73 degrees and the fan on the lowest setting.Total range for the BMW i8 is an estimated 310 miles combined with a full charge and a full tank of gas.Charging time is about 3.5 hours using a 110-volt household outlet, or about 1.5 hours using a 240-volt fast charger.Fuel economy for the 2014 BMW i8 is an estimated 94 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), whatever that means.

Though it's technically a body-on-frame …Hide Full Review