A couple of weeks ago BMW Australia announced pricing for the very cool looking and very green i8 hybrid sportscar. It’s three hundred grand if you’re wondering. To promote the Australian sales launch the BMWi “supercar” is touring across the six dealerships in six states who have been nominated as official selling dealers.
Luckily for us here at AUSmotive Rolfe Classic BMW in Canberra made the cut. We received an email last week inviting us along to inspect the car later this week. However, a scheduling bonus meant the Canberra dealer could get the car last Friday and it has been on display since. Word filtered our way quickly, Canberra is a small town after all, and we went along last Saturday for a sticky beak.
The i8 was officially unveiled in Frankfurt late last year and the likes of Chris Harris have described it as “mighty, mighty achievement”.
It’s a plug-in hybrid which sends 170kW/320Nm to the rear wheels, thanks to a fearsome 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol turbo, while the front axle is powered by a 96kW/250Nm electric motor. The total combined output of the i8 is 266kW/570Nm, enough to get the car to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds.
Play nicely and you can almost drive to the moon and back, such is the frugal nature of its fuel consumption (2.1l/100km according to the spec sheet beside the car).
Of course, it’s the flowing lines and dramatic nature of the i8 which hold as much appeal to any petrolhead (or should that be volthead now) as the car’s technical specifications. There’s cleverly crafted nooks and crannies wherever you look and the aesthetic results are plain to see.
The drama only increases when the winged doors open and invite you into the cabin. There’s raw carbon fibre reinforced plastic hinting at the car’s lightweight underbelly before a typically teutonic interior greets you with a few more flashes of personality than you usually see inside a BMW these days.
Although, it’s a shame in a way that much of the car’s futuristic styling is lost with the
black Sophisto Grey Brilliant Effect paintwork. That said, the i8 is a beautiful object to admire and we only hope it does good things for BMW on the sales front so that Munich’s bold foray into hybrid sportscars is both encouraged and sustainable.
The i8 is in Canberra until next Tuesday (8 July) and will also visit Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth (it may have visited some or all of those locations already, check with the dealer list below to confirm).
We reckon you should make the effort to check out the i8. For one thing it looks fantastic, but, as a means of providing a long-term solution for the sportcar genre, it’s probably a lot more important than we realise right now.