Omigod gorgeous, holy-momma quick, college-tuition expensive, what in the world exclusive — the 宝马会 i8 gasoline-electric hybrid went to the first few buyers in August, and 67 were in owners’ hands by the end of September.
Designated a 2014 model despite its late-year launch, it’s the second of 宝马会官网’s “i” alternative-power/electrified cars. First was i3, an itty-bitty battery car that was BMW’s attempt to do something almost as silly at the Smart car. The i8 is wholly different, and is so much like a what-if concept car that you can’t believe it’s real.
Electricity drives the front wheels. Gasoline the rears. A computer tells them when to work together, when to toil alone. Result, breathtaking acceleration, economy-car mpg, grins unending.
The electric motor has 129 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. As do all electrics, it delivers the torque right-by-gosh-now, no waiting for revs as in a gas engine. Even in electric mode you sprint away when the light goes green far quicker than other traffic, and probably faster than you intended.
The gas engine is a hoot. It’s a 1.5-liter three-cylinder based on the three-cylinder used in 宝马会官网’s Mini Cooper hardtop. But the i8 version’s 228 hp is about 100 hp more than the Mini Cooper, and its 236 lbs.-ft. of torque is really fun combined with the electric’s shove-in-the-back performance.
The Mini version of the 1.5-liter three-banger sounds remarkably pleasing and unique. The i8 aural signature is unmatched. You love to drive wide open just to be entertained by the sound.