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The BMW i8, India’s first hybrid supercar, is an absolute stunner in looks, performance and the way it drives. Aims to make it an eco-friendly car, and positioned as BMW’s futuristic product, the company uses an all-new LifeDrive platform, organic carbon fibre and organic leather dyes, along with hydro-electric power sourcing. The carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminum subframes help the car to maintain a superlight kerb weight and improve efficiency with less fuel consumption.
The i8 is pure German from inside too. Its premium interior design with top-notch materials and blue eco-color represent futuristic fashion. The front seats have enough legroom, though, the rear seats are little congested for tall passengers. The car brims with various entertainment and comfort-enhancing features such as BMW’s latest-generation iDrive system, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a 8.8-inch media system display and more.
Powering the i8 is a plug-in hybrid system with 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine, also powers the new-gen Mini Cooper, and an electric motor. The twinpower turbo petrol engine, paired with a rear-wheel 6-speed automatic gearbox, churns out a maximum power of 231bhp with 320Nm of torque, while the electric motor’s power goes up to 131bhp with 250Nm of torque. This power-unit transmits power to front wheels via a two-stage automatic gearbox. The i8 can accelerate 0-100kmph in 4.4 seconds, while maintaining a top speed of 250kmph. In electric mode, it can achieve 120kmph.
For optimum battery power and least fuel consumption, switch it in Eco-Pro mode, while the Sports mode brings real thrill to enthusiasts. The i8 feels excellent while driving. Handling, too, is balanced. The straight-line stability is pretty impressive.
The i8 aims to be an eco-friendly car, based on BMW’s all-new LifeDrive platform, uses organic carbon fibre, organic leather dyes and hydro-electric power engine. As per standards, it isn’t a featherweight sports car, though, it has super-light kerb weight, thanks to the carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminum subframes. The lightweight chassis also improves its fuel efficiency and engine performance. Meanwhile, the heavy components, for creating low centre of gravity, are kept low-down the body. The i8 has lot to flaunt. It sports a signature kidney grille, aerodynamically-designed 20-inches alloys, unique architectural surfacing, corrosion-proof thermoplastic panels and layered effect wide rear-end.
Step inside, and you will apparently feel the pleasing finishing, high-grade material and futuristic design. Driver’s seat and controls are well-positioned. There is enough space for front seats passengers to stretch legs, however, the rear seats, due to limited wheelbase, are good for a single passenger. The car has various goodies to offer such as BMW’s latest-generation iDrive system, a 8.8-inch media system display, DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, electrically adjusted and heated front seats etc.
The i8 is powered by a plug-in hybrid system with the same 1.5-litre, twinpower turbo petrol engine, also found on the new-gen Mini Cooper hatch, and an electric motor. The petrol powertrain, coupled with a rear-wheel 6-speed automatic gearbox, delivers power of 231bhp with 320Nm of torque, while the electric motor with front wheels two-stage automatic gearbox offers 131bhp with 250Nm of torque. The i8 completes 0-100kmph sprints in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 250kmph, while in electric mode, it can mark 120kmph. It returns an integrated mileage (petrol + electric motor) of 40kmpl.
Performance and Handling
The i8 is a quick and frugal sports car. The aerodynamic design and lightweight and flexible chassis make it an excellent grand tourer. The conventional BMW’s driving modes are carried over to the car. In Comfort, you can easy pull the car, only with the electric power, while the Sport mode delivers maximum performance with prompt throttle and steering response. In Eco-Pro mode, the car utilizes optimum battery power with minimal fuel consumption. The 3-cylinder petrol engine runs smoothly with negligible turbo-lag. Engine excites with its sporty sound, while the electric motor, too, hums slightly. Drive is engaging, and straight-line stability is pretty impressive. It’s fun at corners.
BMW’s sports car features powerful ventilated disc brakes with brake caliper and a lightweight chassis with dynamic damper control system that contribute to its braking performance. Moreover, it gets ABS, brake assist, cornering brake control system, brake standby and various advanced system.
The electric motor, fully charged in two hours, offers a mileage in between 25-35kms, while in combination of petrol engine and lithium battery that car delivers a fuel economy of 40kmpl.
The i8 is loaded with several high-end safety features such as airbag protection, ABS, brake assist, dynamic damper control system, cornering brake control system, pedestrian safety features, anti-theft package, impact protection beams and many more.
With futuristic design, all green credentials, high-tech features and powerful plug-in hybrid system, the BMW i8 proves to be the most promising sports cars we have in India. It’s purely an enthusiast’s car that thrills with its unparalleled pick-up performance, handling and drivability.
Pros & Cons
Premium and feature-rich interior
Fuel efficiency (petrol engine)
Handling and driving dynamics
Rear seats space
Electric motor’s mileage range
Initial cost of ownership and maintenance
2015 Luxury Green Car of the Year –Green Car Journal
2014 Technology of the Year – Autoblog
2014 Coveted Car of the Year Award – TopGear Magazine
2015 Reader’s Choice Green Car of the Year – AutoGuide
02 March 2015, 12:48 IST by Roger Dsouza
BMW i8, recently introduced in the Indian market, received the prestigious award for the UK car of the year 2015 (UKCOTY 2015). Not only this, the futuristic i8 from the Bavarian giant also won
25 February 2015, 09:39 IST by Nikhil Puthran
German engineering has been trusted and relied upon across the globe. BMW had recently launched the globally popular i8 hybrid in the country at a price tag of Rs. 2.29 Cr. The car based on Vision
18 February 2015, 12:40 IST by Aditya Chatterjee
The German car manufacturer has once again initiated a revolution of a change by launching the i8, a first-of-its-own-kind hybrid, in India at Rs. 2.29 Cr. The i8 definitely looks like nothing in
18 February 2015, 10:32 IST by Aditya Chatterjee
BMW India will finally launch the highly acclaimed BMW i8 Plug-in hybrid sportscar in the Indian car market today. Unveiled at the 2014 Delhi Motor Show in the presence of Master Blaster Sachin
17 January 2015, 17:14 IST by Aditya Chatterjee
BMW, the German luxury car manufacturer is gearing up for the launch of much-awaited BMW i8 Plug-in hybrid sportscar in the Indian car market. Unveiled at the 2014 Delhi Motor Show, the i8 Plug-in
07 January 2015, 12:48 IST by Roger Dsouza
BMW i8, the future sports car from the house of the esteemed German manufacturer has started reaching Indian dealerships. Incidentally, the company is set to launch the car next month and the
06 January 2015, 17:20 IST by Aditya Chatterjee
BMW, the German luxury carmaker, is gearing up for the launch of its highly-rated BMW i8 Plug-in hybrid sportscar in the Indian car market. Unveiled at the 2014 Delhi Motor Show, the i8 will come
06 January 2015, 14:39 IST by Roger Dsouza
The BMW i8 supercar was first showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo 2014, where it was said the company plans to launch the car in the Indian market soon. There was quite some anticipation about the
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