The BMW i8 is based on a design we originally saw in 2009 with the Vision EfficientDynamics concept, yet it still looks futuristic some 13 years later. While it’s still a looker to this day, the plug-in hybrid has been subjected to criticism for having only a three-cylinder engine despite the steep asking price. However, the i8 was more along the lines of a thrifty gran tourer with innovative tech rather than a fully fledged sports car.
Although it wasn’t conceived for outright speed, that didn’t stop YouTuber AutoTopNL from pushing it to the maximum on an unrestricted section of the Autobahn. With launch control turned on, the electrified coupe offered brisk acceleration even though it only had a 1.5-liter engine at its disposal. Of course, the ICE worked together with the electric motor, providing a combined output of 369 hp.
That’s exactly as much you get today in a six-cylinder M340i, but lest we forget the i8 is substantially lighter as it tips the scales at 1,539 kilograms (3,394 pounds) in coupe form. Perhaps it deserved an M Performance version with a combustion engine featuring a larger displacement, but it never got one. ALPINA did build a prototype back in the day with a 2.0-liter engine, which bumped output to 460 hp. However, it sadly never saw the light of production day.
While the i8 won’t go down in history for its performance, it does hold a special place in BMW’s lineage by paving the way for the ever-growing “i” lineup, along with the i3. The latter is still in production today, albeit only in China as a long-wheelbase 3 Series Sedan EV. The quirky hatchback sold globally bowed out earlier this year when production ended.
BMW did hint at what the future may have in store for the i8 by showcasing the Vision M Next concept in 2019. A production version was under consideration but eventually scrapped due to high development costs.
Source: AutoTopNL / YouTube