LIFE IS FULL OF contrasts, and contrasts don’t get much bigger than walking away from six months of RS6 Performance custodianship and into a BMW i8. From 605hp, 4 litres, eight cylinders and two turbos to 15 litres, three cylinders, 265hp and one 96hp electric motor Drive s till goes to all f our wheel s, but with the BMW having two fewer gears to shuffle, that is where the similarities begin and end. For the next six months the ferocious acceleration of the Audi will be replaced by the serene and all-but-silent thrust of BMW’s carbon-core hybrid coupe.
Beyond that, I’m not sure exactly what to expect at this moment, but I’d like to see some semblance of the i8 being a proper sports coupe and a benefit of ditching some cylinders and legging some super-sized AA batteries around.
Evo’s i8 has a number of questions to answer between now and the summer, is it a sports car? Is it a revolution of the breed and the first taste of what we can expect in the future? Can it entertain and delight? Will it fire our imaginations and play apart in great drives? Can it deliver on the thrill of driving? Previous drives of i8 shave come close to delivering an answer to some of those questions. But only close.
Few of us at evo have walked away from an i8 regaling others with tales of epic journeys and drives never to be erased from the memory. None of us has felt it has ever got under our skin nor become the default answer to the question: ‘Which sports coupe should I buy?’ Over the coming months and many miles we will have the opportunity to discover if BMW’s hybrid coupe is the real deal or a style (and technology) over substance machine.
First impressions are light, as I took custody of the i8 just seven days be fore typing this, so it’s still all a bit new. The wife is going to complain about the lack of luggage/ shopping space and I’m going to need to remember to charge the batteries to make the most of the i8’s abilities. But it’s going to be an intriguing journey, nonetheless.