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A German tuner has turned the hybrid BMW i8 into a V8-engined monster

Out goes the three-pot turbo and e-motor, in comes an 800bhp V8

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A tuning company in Germany has taken it upon itself to turn BMW’s hybrid i8 supercar into a very un-hybrid i8 supercar. Meet the GRT V8i.

If you’re thinking that sounds a bit… backwards, you’re not wrong. Gabura Racing Technologies admits its aim was to turn the concept of the BMW i8 “upside down”. With a mighty V8 in place of the standard i8’s three-cylinder turbo engine and electric motor, we’d say so.

The engine is question is BMW’s own twin-turbo, 4.4-litre V8 used in both the M5 and M6 (and not an Alpina unit, as some others are reporting). In those cars, output is good for 560bhp as standard, rising to near 600bhp for the ‘30 year anniversary’ M5.

GRT treated the twin-turbo V8 to an individual intake system, a high performance motorsport cooling system and dry sump lubrication. The latter allows it to be slotted deeper in the engine bay. They’re aiming for 800bhp in the ‘first shot’, and if all goes to plan, will attempt to “raise the bar for a next step”. Woah.

Interestingly, that V8 is stuffed in the front of the car, under the actual bonnet - not behind the driver, where the standard i8’s three-pot lives. To counter that weight gain, GRT has fitted a racing six-speed sequential gearbox at the back complete with an integrated diff, and fitted “high performance suspension architecture”, along with a lightweight, titanium exhaust system.

It’ll look different, too. “As the GRT V8i is going to be more powerful and purely rear-wheel-drive, the design team had to make it wilder,” we’re told. The wheels and tyres are bigger, and it’s wider, too. It’ll be produced on a very limited scale in Munich, so watch this space for more updates.

Why do it? Not only is it a ‘technical demonstration’ by GRT, but also a response to several clients looking for an ‘M’ version of the i8.

Top Gear has long held that everything is made better with the addition of a big V8. But should BMW’s sublime i8 fall into that category?

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