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BMW i8 Coupe

The independent definitive BMW i8 video review

This is a sample, showing 30 seconds of each section.

    FUTURE SHOCK (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    The i8 Coupe is BMW's vision of the future of high performance sports car motoring - and now they've further improved it. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 64

    The improved BMW i8 Coupe is a hybrid supercar now capable of delivering a 374hp punch if provoked. Alternatively, it can glide noiselessly along on pure electric power with an even greater all-electric range. The quoted fuel economy figures need taking with a grain of salt but if you wanted a vision of the future of sports cars, you're looking at it right here.

    Backgroundword count: 164

    Right from its launch in 2014, the BMW i8 has set a fresh course for what a high performance sportscar really ought to be. It's paraded as a paradigm shift in sports car development. A car that makes existing petrol-powered coupes look about as cutting edge as a video cassette recorder. Well now BMW has improved it. First by offering buyers the option of an expensive open-topped Roadster version. And second, by using the latest technology to considerably enhance the hybrid powertrain, which features on the Coupe derivative that's our focus here. There's now more power, more torque, great economy and cleanliness, plus the all-electric driving range can now be as much as 32 miles. There's a very high price to pay for all this technology of course but, as BMW is quick to point out, no other car in this class can offer anything like this. Here's proof that 1.5-litres of internal combustion and a battery pack deserves to be taken extremely seriously.

    Driving Experienceword count: 325

    There's more performance on offer from this revised model. The MINI Cooper-derived three cylinder 1.5-litre engine now puts out 231hp. At the same time, the energy capacity of the lithium-ion battery it works alongside has increased from 20Ah to 34Ah, creating an improved net energy capacity of 11.6kWh. That's made it possible to raise the electric motor's power output to 143hp. All of this means that the combined electric motor and engine ouput is now 374hp (previously it was 357hp). And that's a lot in a sportscar weighing less than 1.5-tonnes. 62mph from rest now takes just 4.4s in the Coupe. The top speed, as before, is rather pointlessly pegged at 155mph. As you might expect, the i8 has a number of tricks up its sleeve. In eDRive mode, it's a front-wheel drive electrically powered vehicle with an improved range of 32 miles. Select Comfort mode and the i8 is a plug-in hybrid with a range of over 300 miles. Choose Sport mode by slotting a small lever from 'D' to 'S' and the i8 goes feral, the petrol engine and motor double-teaming to really bring the excitement. The damping will tighten, the power assistance for the steering will taper off and the software will juggle the torque split for maximum entertainment. There'll be some artificial noise piped into the cabin but it should sound good. The six-speed 'automatic transmission has been chosen over the ZF eight-speeder to save weight but it's a good unit. The calibration of the braking between regenerative and mechanical is something many manufacturers should benchmark. The i8's centre of gravity is admirably low, but the 215/45 R20 front tyres have been chosen as much for their green credentials as anything else and will be the first thing to lapse into gentle understeer if you manhandle the car. Wider tyres are optionally available as long as you don't mind a small economy trade off. Keen drivers should certainly tick that box.

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    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    0-62 mph (s):

    4.4

    Combined mpg:

    99.9

    134.5

    Height (mm):

    1297

    Length (mm):

    4689

    Max Speed (mph):

    155

    Power (PS):

    231

    ... and 4 other stats available

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Sporting Cars

    Performance
    80%
    Handling
    80%
    Comfort
    70%
    Space
    60%
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