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2015 BMW i8

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/28/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 BMW i8 gains Comfort Access keyless entry as standard equipment.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 BMW i8 is a hybrid sports car powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-three combined with three electric motors for a combined output of 357 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is linked to the turbo-three and the front electric motor is paired to a two-speed automatic. The car can travel up to 15 miles using electric-only power, while its gas-only fuel economy is 28/29 mpg city/highway.

Overview

Performance is one of the 2015 BMW i8's strong points. It offers quick acceleration that matches cars like the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Edition 507 thanks to the combination of the turbo inline-three and three electric motors. Handling is excellent because of the car's carbon-fiber tub, low center of gravity, near-perfect weight distribution, and rigid chassis, but the i8 doesn't sacrifice ride quality in favor of all-out performance. Refinement, however, is a weak point because the carbon-fiber tub contributes to road noise, especially on less than perfect surfaces. Interior design is futuristic and features supportive seats and modern gauges to complement the car's bold exterior. Fit and finish inside the car isn't as good as in other BMWs due to the use of hard plastics, detracting from the cabin's modern feel. Trunk space is puny at 4.7 cubic feet.

What We Think

Those looking for a sports car who want to flaunt their environmental friendliness should look at the i8 because it offers great performance and a unique powertrain all wrapped in a futuristic package complete with butterfly doors. In 2014 First Test review, we said that the car "performs better than it feels," offering excellent acceleration thanks to a well-developed hybrid powertrain. The car's handling is also another strong point with accurate steering, a rigid chassis, a low center of gravity, and near-perfect weight distribution. In a comparison test against the Tesla Model S, we said that the i8's dynamic prowess didn't come at the cost of ride quality because it absorbs bumps with "an uncanny suppleness." Being a sports car, however, means the i8 isn't that practical – its puny trunk is only able to carry 4.7 cubic feet of stuff.

You'll Like

  • Great ride and handling balance
  • Strong powertrain
  • Futuristic exterior design

You Won't Like

  • Puny trunk
  • Subpar interior fit and finish

Key Competitors

  • Tesla Model S
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
  • Audi R8
  • BMW M4
  • Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Rating

4 star

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