In the summer of 2011 BMW dazzled the world with the launch of the i8 Concept, a prototype that at that time gave us the future lines and characteristics of what we all know today as i8, the peculiar hybrid supercar from BMW that was ahead of your time. And that is back then, BMW was one of the brands that most bet on electrification as well as on alternative fuels such as hydrogen, becoming one of the pioneers in this new revolution in the automotive sector.
That prototype, presented with both a Coupé and Spyder bodywork, boasted a monocoque chassis made of carbon fiber reinforced with plastic while the subframes, both front and rear, were made of aluminum, all with the aim of keeping the lowest possible the final weight of the set and is that the hybrid mechanics, by their very nature tend to increase the final mass of the car.
On the front hood, unlike what you would expect in a BMW, was a 131 hp electric motor powered by batteries that allowed it to be recharged in a conventional socket. The gasoline engine was hidden behind the passenger compartment and consisted of a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter cubic block capable of reaching 223 hp and 300 Nm of torque thanks to the use of a twin-input turbocharger (TwinPower Turbo).
The production BMW i8, presented in 2014, hardly changed the design line that we knew three years ago in the concept, maintaining its characteristic door opening, its short hood or those peculiar later drivers that, in addition to providing a groundbreaking aesthetic in the brand also served as aerodynamic support in the rear axle.
The mechanics also remained intact, only the final power figure of the gasoline engine varied, this time offering 231 hp for a total of 362 hp. For the transmission of the three-cylinder engine, the company ZF was again used by mounting, in a transverse position, one of its six-ratio torque converter automatic gearboxes, while on the front axle reduction gears composed of two multiplications, one for speeds below 120 km / h and the other for when the vehicle is above 121 km / h.
As standard, it was offered with a 30-liter capacity tank which optionally, for a small extra cost, could increase to 42 liters, giving the BMW i8 a maximum autonomy of 600 km, according to the brand, of which a maximum of 37 Kms could be done in 100% electric mode. From my experience, when I had the opportunity to test the i8, I was never able to exceed 25 km, but thanks to the possibility of being recharged in a domestic socket, in the city it is a truly ecological car with ridiculous consumption for power and performance. it offers.
At the end of 2017, BMW made a series of modifications in the mid-life of the model, with small variations in design, both exterior and interior, as well as an improvement in performance thanks to the fact that the electric motor goes from delivering 131 hp to 143 horsepower, encrypting a total of 372 CV. The battery also undergoes changes, reaching a maximum of 9.2 kWh of useful capacity.
Along with the i3, the i8 gave the starting gun to the first BMWs with the surname “i” and although almost ten years later the range has hardly changed, if the arrival of new models is expected over the next few years , cars like the i4 (sports saloon-coupe) or iX3 (electric version of the BMW X3) that have already been confirmed for launch in 2021.
At the time it was speculated that the second generation of the i8 would become 100% electric, something completely logical at this point if BMW had wanted to maintain that advantageous position that at some point it obtained in the world of electric cars. Unfortunately, after the end of production in early 2020, BMW has not confirmed any successor for this model and that is that the true lovers of the brand continue to prefer an M2 or an M4 before the i8, even more so seeing the depreciation that it has in the second-hand market.