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  • Writer's pictureThomas Carnaffan, Car guy

2015 BMW i8

This week we are reviewing the BMW i8. Our vehicle was assembled in Saxony, Leipzig and had an MSRP of $149,900 when it was new.

Fun Factor: 8

Can it Family: 4

HWY-warrior: 9

Fuel-Friendly: 10

Karaoke-Friendly: 8

Baby-Friendly: 3

City Cruising: 8

The BMW i8 was launched in 2014 and was BMW’s attempt at a modern-day supercar. On the supercar checklist, it matches the price and the exotic styling but it does not have a supercar driving experience, it’s too friendly as a daily to be a supercar, its acceleration is not raw or brutal, it glides up to speed rather comfortably. The i8 is powered by a 1.5L turbocharged 3cyl with 3 electric motors for a combined output of 357hp and 420lb-ft of torque mounted to a 6-speed transmission for the 3cyl engine and a two-speed transmission for the electric motor. The electric motor has a 29km range which in our opinion makes it an assistant, acceleration is instant due to BMW’s superb turbocharging abilities combined with the electric motor. The interior is made of environmentally friendly and recycled materials, however, the interior has fine Ivory White Leather on the seats and the armrests making the i8 a very comfortable vehicle.

At the time of release, BMW did not really have any competitors to the i8 with similar technology. However, with the i8 having depreciated to $80k CAD or fewer people could be stuck comparing the i8 to the new Polestar 1 which has a price tag of over $200k. The BMW i8 has very comfortable seats that fit a person of any height. Getting in the i8 can be a challenge especially if you are near 6 feet tall, the door frame is the very narrow meaning you would have to lie down and slide into your seat. Finally, the trunk space was great. You could fit a carry-on and a backpack in there, and if the rear seats are not in use, you could add more items there.

During our drive on the road, we averaged 7L/100km over a 40 km route photographing the car for the owner. Our average was a little higher because we were testing the car's acceleration(within the speed limits) and we were driving the car with spirit in gasoline mode only. BMW announces the i8 as having a 2.1L/100km fuel economy and the emissions are 49g/km, the combined fuel economy is 3.1L/100km and the fuel economy is gasoline or sport more is 6.7L/100km.

The cabin is relaxing and comfortable, there is very little wind noise and it feels like a normal car when driving. The rear visibility could be better but considering the styling, it's great when you compare it to similarly styled cars. What we liked about the vehicle's controls is that there is a knob in the center console to control the screen, which is very easy to navigate. As for a cool safety feature this car has, there is an anti-roll system that stops the car if it's moving and doesn't sense any pressure on the pedals, we suspect this is to prevent you from damaging your butterfly doors if you are driving with them up(not recommended).

The sound system is great, the speakers are quality and the sound is not interrupted by the engine or road noise. The interior styling is very driving oriented, BMW wanted everything angled toward the driver and it gives the driver's seat a very cozy feeling with everything around the driver.

The butterfly doors opened up just above the roofline and there is a sidewall to kneel on when installing a child seat. Once the front seats are folded and moved forward the child seat anchors are easily visible and almost make the rear seat unappealing to look at. Once the car seats would be installed there would be enough room for a kid of any age, but I would not recommend the rear seat to adults as it is tight. Finally, if a toddler chooses to access the vehicle themselves it would be tricky as the door handles are hidden and they would need to climb up a side skirt to get in, but the door is easy to use. The doors operate hydraulically meaning one small push and it will go up for you. The seat belts would be easy for anyone to reach and buckle in.

In the city, the i8 is comfortable, fuel-efficient, attractive and fun. It has great maneuverability and does not have a giant turning circle like other supercars. The parking sensors were useful and the size of the backup camera image on the screen was quite helpful.

Why would we buy the BMW i8, or what we liked about it? It's a fun vehicle, the design is super futuristic but it won’t draw crowds, the AWD is xDrive so it’s fantastic of course, the battery is recharged in sport mode if you don’t want to plug the car in, and the i8 is built in Germany which adds a special appeal to the car.

Why would we not buy the BMW i8, or what did we not like about it? We would not buy the i8 because the doors are too much of an attention grabber. The BMW i lineup was their first try at building hybrids and we aren’t sure how the range would be affected down the road or in winter. Finally, the i8 has enough storage space but it's hampered by one of the engines being below the trunk.

@the_choice_collection (on Instagram) lent us this vehicle for part of the day. This is not a BMW Canada Press car. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.

Below are more pictures of the BMW i8 done by @cancarphotos (on Instagram)

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