By now everyone on the planet who like cars should know a little about the BMW i8. Its been six years since BMW introduced the i8 in Coupe variant first then the Roadster version at end of 2017. And now, the production of the i8 is coming to a close. This article pays a little homage to the i8, which paved the way for the brand in its transition to the full electrification. Furthermore, the i8 laid the foundation for BMW’s now broad range of plug-in hybrid models. Thus far, the i8 has amassed over 20,000 units sold worldwide since 2014, following its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, a year earlier.
What’s makes the BMW i8 so special?
The 2+2 seater sports car has gull-wing doors, a signature BMW identity, plug-in hybrid system and four-wheel drive. Since its release, everyone wanted a piece of the BMW i8.
As a pioneer and flagship for driving pleasure with plug-in hybrid technology, the BMW i8 was the ideal vehicle for the job right from the start. The BMW i8 is the world’s first sports car that had been developed with sustainability in mind right from the outset. The vehicle concept of a 2+2-seater, the aerodynamically optimized design, the intelligent lightweight construction and the innovative drive concept were aimed at resolving the contradiction between dynamics and efficiency that prevails in conventional automotive engineering.
In addition, the combination of a passenger cell made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) with an aluminium chassis was just as revolutionary as the intelligently controlled interaction of the combustion engine and electric motor. The combustion engine transfers its power to the rear wheels, while the electric motor drives the front wheels.
The i8 Coupe/ Roadster has an output of 105 kW/143 hp on pure electric mode. In combination with the combustion engine, this resulted in a system output of 275 kW/374 hp. The BMW i8 Coupé now accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, while the Roadster takes 4.6 seconds. Both models reach a top speed of 250 km/h. The electric range is now 55 kilometers for the i8 Coupé and 53 km for the Roadster.
On design, the i8’s exterior is highlighted by gull-wing-like doors to go with a flat front and closed kidney grille. The underbody is covered to pair with the contoured side skirts, the lines of the side section known as Stream Flow, and the air ducts between the rear lights and roof frame. It not only results in a low drag coefficient (Cd value) of 0.26, but also in an exceptionally favorable aerodynamic balance. The ideal ratio of air resistance and lift for driving dynamics. The BMW i8 was the world’s first series-produced car to be equipped with innovative laser headlights, too.
Inside, the selection of materials for the interior and in the production of the BMW i8 was focussed greatly on sustainability. The leather used for the surfaces of the seats and instrument panel is tanned with an extract of olive tree leaves. The starting material for the textile materials is a polyester granulate, which comes from recycled materials.
Exclusivity the i8
Over its lifespan, the BMW i8 Protonic Red Edition was first presented in early 2016. Just a year later, the BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Black Edition and i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition followed, which remains exclusive editions worldwide; available in a quantity of 100 units.
Needless to say, such a fine specimen gets the widest recognition, all over the world; and the i8 has garnered numerous awards, from top motoring journos and most popular mediums from around the globe.
Forward to the Future
Currently, the BMW i8 Sophisto Edition is in production at the brand’s Leipzig plant. Only 200 units are available in this final production run. One of the edition models was already manufactured in December 2019 as the 20 000th unit of the i8. With this production volume, the BMW i8 has already outstripped many a legendary BMW sports by far. Among the milestones in the history of sports cars, its sales figures are well ahead of classics such as the BMW M1, of which only 399 units were produced for road use, and also ahead of the BMW Z8 roadster, which was built around 5000 times
After the i8, BMW plans to expand its range to include 25 electrified models by 2023, more than half of which will run on electric power alone.