A SUPERMODEL SUPERCAR: 2014 BMW i8
You have a clear vision for the future and so does BMW. The BMW i8 is the German automaker’s new high-performance plug-in hybrid, and you don’t have to wait till the future to experience it. Zero to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds? A full charge in three hours from a regular garage outlet? Using absolutely no gasoline for a 10-plus mile commute? Yes, it’s true. It’s also one of those rare machines that’s even more stunning and desirable in production guise than it was as a concept car. The lithe bodywork that entranced the auto press is, in fact, a collection of lightweight and dent-resistant plastic panels that have been carefully sculpted with numerous functional aerodynamic details.BMW says the i8 can also travel about 22 miles and reach a top speed of 75 mph on electrons, alone. Uncorked with the gasoline engine in the lead, it will reach atop speed of 155 mph. The i8 also delivers stellar handling thanks to 50/50 weight distribution and a low, centrally mounted battery pack. Settling into the front seats requires some practice—given its unique scissor-lift-style doors and high sill, but the car makes up for it in style. Its low-slung profile is punctuated by standard U-shaped LED headlights. Inside, a multi-tiered and layered cockpit design is, at the same time, inviting and driver-oriented, and this car uses recycled materials and naturally treated leather for upholstery and panel surfaces. The multi-adjustable power seats offer good support and long-distance comfort, and a 6-foot 2-inch test driver had headroom to spare. The bottom line is that it’s a gorgeous, technically interesting machine that puts a premium on handling.
- Horsepower: 357 hp.
- Price as Tested: $135,700
- MPG: After about 20 miles of range on electricity, the gasoline engine should get an estimated 27 mpg.
- Plus: An electronic noise actuator under the rear-deck lid generates a fantastically designed exhaust note that is emitted from the stereo’s rear speakers whether it’s switched on or not.
- Nit: The rear “seats” are uncomfortably tiny and trunk space is a paltry 5.4 cubic feet.
- What it Says About You: You’re a Renaissance CEO, appreciating style, performance and cutting-edge technology.