From Doc Brown’s Delorean to Speed Racer’s Mach Five, the futuristic sports cars of the silver screen have intrigued us since childhood. But no matter how much we fantasized about these iconic rides and their innovative designs, they always seemed to belong to some distant future — until now. The i8 — BMW’s plug-in hybrid powered by an electric motor and gasoline engine — does more than revive our hopes for a modern day Mach Five, it completely redefines what a sports car can be. Common opinion would have you believe that hybrids have poor performance or a clunky look, but that could not be further from the truth with the BMW i8.
The BMW i8 might not be a time machine, but its design is certainly a window into the future. Between its blue accents and low- slung stance, its striking exterior is sure to turn the head of every passerby in its vicinity. The hybrid’s sporty aesthetic is heightened by features such as swan-wing doors, interlocking panels, and minimalist lines. More than just a beautiful shell, many of the features that make the i8 visually appealing play a pivotal role in its aerodynamics. The body’s horizontal lines serve as a wind tunnel, reducing overall drag. More subtle aspects, such as a closed underbody, also enhance the i8’s aerodynamics. The sum of these versatile designs equal better fuel efficiency and a more comfortable ride. Additionally, the vehicle’s use of lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, help to offset its heavy driveline. While the i8’s exterior looks like something that might take to the skies, you won’t find any flux capacitors inside. Its interior is a familiar character that reminds us of that classic BMW feel, while simultaneously maintaining that nuanced i8 style.
Forget everything you know about hybrids. With a curb weight of 3,455 lbs, the BMW i8 clocks in at 4.2 seconds on its 0 to 60 time and is capable of hitting 155 mph. Between the vehicle’s sharp handling and agile steering, the i8 is every bit as fun to drive as it is to look at. The BMW i8 includes an all-wheel-drive powertrain consisting of an electrically assisted, 1.5 L turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine (228 horsepower) in addition to its 129 horsepower electric motor (357 total). The driver has the option to change the drivetrain from electric to electric-assisted in order to tap into its gasoline engine. This transition transforms the i8 from a front- wheel drive fuel saver to a rear-wheel drive sports car with assistance from an electrically powered front. The i8’s 420 pound-feet of torque may not seem like much, but its force will glue you to your seat. With its 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery playing a crucial role in fuel efficiency, the i8 is the best of beauty, brawn, and brains all rolled into one.
The i8 might silence those who say hybrids can’t be a blast to drive, but it does much more than that. Its innovative aesthetic and powertrain open the doors for the green cars of tomorrow. Better looking, faster hybrids mean more buyers which equals less gas and less air pollutants. If Doc Brown made the switch from Uranium to Mr. Fusion, why can’t we? The sports cars of our childhood imaginations no longer live in some foreign future, they exist today in the BMW i8.
*This car was courtesy of and is available for purchase at: Paul Miller BMW
Wayne, NJ 07470