The i-program from BMW is an audacious one. Not only does it aim to make the eco-friendly genre far more mainstream than it’s been thus far (with the i3 primarily, which isn’t sold in India) but it also intends to make it sexy (with the i8 of course, which is sold here).
It’s safe to say that the i8 is the most striking new car introduced in a very long time. It simply looks like a piece of the future plonked into the present. It’s almost as though it’s driven straight off the set of Mission Impossible and ended up on the cover of this magazine. Sure, a Ferrari and Lamborghini would look just as sexy, but neither would be able to give you eco-bragging rights now would they? And that’s the beauty of what BMW’s done here. They’ve proven that you don’t have to drive a Prius to fly the green flag – you can do so while driving a car that looks about as futuristic and flamboyant as anything out there. And it’s pretty handy from behind the wheel as well.
On the road, the i8 is actually very engaging and responsive. On the track, however, it’s simply no match for a conventional supercar – but, then, it was never meant to be a track car. That’s not to say it’s not fast though – it is! It does 0-100km/h in just 4.4 seconds after all. It’s incredibly refined as well. The whine from the electric motor up front and the roar from the petrol motor at the back is both a bit quizzical and pleasing at the same time – especially when it yields power delivery like this. The electric motor generates the equivalent of 131 horsepower, which are transmitted to the front wheels, while the 1.5-litre, turbocharged, direct-injection, three-cylinder petrol engine produces 231 horses that are sent to the rear wheels. What it amounts to is a total of 362 horses and all-wheel drive. And if it doesn’t sound like all that much consider the fact that the carbon-fibre tub and body panels ensure that the i8 is really very light indeed. The best part, though, is the fact that the positioning of the batteries ensures an extremely low centre of gravity – and, therefore, excellent handling.
What you need, then, to enjoy this piece of the future are 2.3 crores stashed in your back pocked – and a spare plug point. But, whether you can afford it or not isn’t important. The important bit is that, when you look at the i8, the future appears very bright indeed!