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Ignition Puts 2015 BMW i8 to the Test

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/27/2014 Kelly Pleskot

By now, if you haven't heard about the BMW i8, you may have been living under a rock. The plug-in hybrid grabbed the world's attention for its fuel-efficiency and promises of performance. While it may not have been the first hybrid sports car -- or the fastest -- to come our way, its unique look and powertrain combination marks a radical departure from the typical BMW sports coupe formula. The question is: Can the i8 hold its own on the track with traditional sports cars?

In the latest episode of Ignition, Jonny Lieberman takes the BMW i8 out with an unusual companion, the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. It turns out the F-Type does pretty much what we expect: makes some sweet noise, runs sideways around corners, and looks beautiful on the road. When it's time to take out the BMW i8, the car sounds, looks, and reacts to the road in a completely different way.

2014-BMW-i8-promo3© Provided by MotorTrend 2014-BMW-i8-promo3

The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe comes loaded with a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 good for 550 horsepower. When comparing the two cars, you would think the BMW i8's 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and small electric motor worth a combined 357 horsepower wouldn't stand a chance. But surprisingly, they both perform similarly on the track. The Jag manages a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds, close to the BMW's 3.8 seconds. And the BMW also holds its own on the Figure 8.

Watch the latest episode of Ignition to hear Lieberman's thoughts on Tesla Model S vs. BMW i8" target="_blank">how the BMW i8 compares to the Jaguar F-Type R and even BMW's own M line.

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