BMW i8
Douglas Stansfield's picture

Who is the BMW i8 really for?

Which one would you choose if you were in this buyers marketing group of cars? If you were to segment the $100k plus car segment, which one would the BMW i8 actually be a part of? Super Premium Hybrid Sports Car Market, maybe? Put it up against the Fisker Karma, the Porsche PanAmera S E-Hyrbrid? If you are ready to purchase a new car in this segment would styling alone be the deciding factor? Would overall performance be the key indicator of your purchase decision?

Or are the marketing executives at BMW actually trying to lure away Tesla buyers? I am sure I’m blurring the lines of these niche category segments here but could they really secretly be trying to win over the environmental crowd by offering a few batteries into the supercar market?

On the styling front, I would give the edge to the i8. The sleek lines and stunning low stance puts this in the best of class category in the looks department for sure. Its scissor doors are futuristic and interior equally stunning. But on the other hand, if environmental performance was your buyer characteristic, would the 15 miles of Electric Range be enough to win you over? I mean, that’s right up there with the Toyota Prius Plug In. So at least you’d have that wonderful Electric Motor Torque profile for at least the first 15 miles of range. Then again, surely the cars overall speed profile would be worth it over the environmental benefits. In straight ahead terms, the i8’s zero to 60 time is a stunning 3.8 seconds in gas mode. That really isn’t that bad but still falls short of the Tesla S with Ludacris button which bests it by a full second.

According to Road and Tracks review of the BMW i8 when it is in EV mode the 0-60 time is significantly worse. They stated it was a “laborious slog to 60”! The time…..9.4 seconds! So your environmental stripes would be tested at the intersection with a Tesla S and you’d be a loser in the race from the stop light if you didn’t switch over to gas mode off the line.
Environmentally speaking the car doesn’t measure up well to anybody really, its zero to sixty time is actually slow in EV mode and also in traction control lift off mode. So in terms of straight performance, the BMW i8 isn’t a winner at all. Its curves are well noted and lovely to look at, but in terms of performance and that wonderful feeling of speed, you just aren’t going to get that from the i8 even though it looks like it should be a performance car. Its best left sitting in the parking lot where it can be seen up close but take the Tesla to the track!

Just check it out against the Tesla S here. Doesn’t really measure up at all.

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