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The BMW i8: Why It Is the Most Expensive Hybrid Sports Car

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The BMW i8 first launched at the Frankfurt’s International Motor Show in 2013. It was BMW’s bid for a cutting-edge sports car that could redefine the environmental trend. This hybrid concept combined the dynamics of a high-performance sports car and the modest gas mileage of a compact car. Along with the compact BMW i3, the i8 carried out BMW’s vision aimed at environmental, economic, and social change worldwide. Six years on, the 2019 BMW i8 is the most expensive hybrid sports car that you can buy. Let’s take a look at what made the car worth as much as $164,295.

What engine is in the BMW i8?

The BMW i8 gets power from the BMW TwinPower Turbo gas engine and the BMW eDrive synchronous electric motor. They are meant to strike an optimum balance between performance and efficiency.

The 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gas engine produces 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. This output goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, the electric motor produces 141 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque which powers the front wheels through a two-stage automatic transmission.

These two power plants have a combined 369 horsepower, which is at par with the output of non-hybrid sports cars. The all-wheel-drive configuration gives you enough grip to feel confident behind the steering wheel.

The 2019 BMW i8 is the most expensive hybrid sports car in the market.

What are the BMW i8’s driving modes?

The BMW i8’s unique hybrid system offers five driving modes to choose from. The desired settings can be selected using the “Driving Experience Control” switch and “eDrive” button. The hybrid drive allows you to choose from COMFORT, SPORT, or ECO PRO. The all-electric drive offers COMFORT or ECO PRO mode.

The SPORT mode is designed to give robust performance. Both combustion and electric power plants work to produce responsive performance. This mode also activates maximum energy recuperation on overruns and braking, keeping the lithium-ion battery charged. The COMFORT mode balances performance and efficiency. It can be an ideal setting for pleasurable everyday driving. Lastly, the ECO PRO mode is the most fuel-efficient setting. This mode comes along with an activated efficiency gauge.

In the all-electric drive, the BMW i8 can reach a top speed of 75 mph. Once the battery’s energy reserve is nearly depleted, the gas engine will automatically run to provide energy as well. The all-electric drive can also be overridden by stepping on the accelerator aggressively, inducing more horsepower.

Is the BMW i8 a Supercar?

The BMW i8 is not a traditional supercar. Its hybrid powertrain has not been adopted by most sports car manufacturers just yet. However, the BMW i8 already made its presence known in motorsports. BMW’s hybrid sports car was used as a safety car in the FIA Formula E Championship.

The 2015 BMW i8 safety car had 380 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. It could reach a top speed of 155 mph and hit 0 to 60 mph in under 4.4 seconds. Modifications were made on the car to comply with the FIA Formula E requirements. Among those were the certified safety cell, carbon fiber racing seats and center console, six-point seat belt, and interior trim and airbag deletes. The car also adorned the official safety car livery for the Formula E Championship.

During the Formula E events, other eDrive-equipped BMW vehicles were also put into service. These were the BMW C evolution electric scooter (shuttle), BMW X5 xDrive40e (rescue car), and BMW i3 (medical car).

The BMW i8 has five driving modes: COMFORT, SPORT, or ECO PRO for the hybrid drive while the all-electric drive offers COMFORT or ECO PRO mode.

The 2019 BMW i8

The 2019 BMW i8 is offered in Coupe and Roadster variants. Aside from the power-folding soft top, rear seat deletes, and fuel consumption, these two models should perform fairly the same. The $16,000 additional price spells the extra fun you can have with the wind blowing through your hair as you drive the BMW i8.

Here is the rundown of the BMW i8 specs for both the Coupe and Roadster.

  i8 Coupei8 Roadster
PerformanceCombined horsepower369 hp369 hp
 Combined torque420 lb-ft420 lb-ft
 0-60 mph4.2 seconds4.2 seconds
 Top speed155 mph155 mph
 eDrive horsepower141 hp141 hp
 eDrive torque184 lb-ft184 lb-ft
Fuel and BatteryCombined fuel consumption131 mpg118 mpg
 Fuel tank capacity11.1 gallons11.1 gallons
 Charging time – Level 2;
0-100%
Approx. 3 hoursApprox. 3 hours
 Charging time – DC 50 kW;
0-80%
2.4 hours2.4 hours
Technical DataSeats42
 Curb weight3,501 lbs3,671 lbs
 Cargo capacity4.7 cu. ft.2.3 cu. ft.
 Other featuresN/APower-folding soft top
Price tag $148,495$164,295

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