The Class of 2014
Got your diary handy? Because this year is going to be very busy indeed... everything from LaFerrari to tiny superminis
Posted: 02 Jan 2014
What is it? It's the £99,895 BMW 2+2 plug-in hybrid sports car that promises to combine a proper sporty driving experience with excitingly high mpg and breathy CO2 emissions. Lightweight for a hybrid - think CFRP and aluminium construction for a sub-1,500kg kerbweight - the i8 is also all-wheel drive, thanks to a 131bhp electric motor driving the front axle and a 231bhp 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder punting the rear wheels. Though front-wheel drive in electric-only mode (about 22 miles at up to 75mph), if you hit the throttle hard, both motors engage to give 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a 155mph top speed. Porsche 911-worrying stuff.
Should I be interested? Emphatically, yes. The i8 looks fantastic, drives brilliantly (we've driven a prototype) and, despite those rapid performance figures, has a range of 310 miles with 113mpg economy and 59g/km of CO2. Which kind of changes the face of what we expect from a sports car and stuffs up any arguments about irresponsible fast cars - it's more efficient than the Prius. The best bit is that the i8 is a complete package: this is all the good stuff - new tech, interesting ‘layered' exterior and interior design and a decent driving experience. There'll also be a convertible Spyder version a bit later for windy days out.