BMW i8. Preproduction Model Driven. Autodrome de Miramas, France.

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One criticism I have heard levelled at the i8 is that the 20-inch wheels are too narrow as they have been optimised for fuel economy and low rolling resistance rather than ultimate grip. The standard i8 is fitted with 215 section rear tyres while the test car I am in has the optional extra 245 rears. When did 245 section rear tyres become ‘too narrow’? Or for that matter, 215s? Modern cars are overcompensated for grip and, even though traction aids were on during my laps and I was therefore pursuing fast and clean laps, I enjoyed playing at the edge of grip in the i8 with an accompanying soundtrack of tyre screeching. I have no doubt that with TC off the i8 will be an absolute hoot to drive and rear tyres as wide as the ocean would diminish not only the driving experience but mask just how superbly the i8 chassis is set up. Oh, and also bad for fuel economy. Obviously.

There has been a clear direction from BMW since the i8 project was given the green light for production. The important thing to note about the i8 is that in the midst of developing all these new technologies, keeping the weight down, worrying about fuel efficiency and green credentials, styling concerns and aerodynamic drag coefficient numbers, BMW haven’t forgotten about the single most important thing. The driver.

Give me a tree to hug, I’m sold.


BMW i8
Engine: hybrid / in-line 3, 1499cc, 230bhp / electric, 130bhp
Power: 360bhp
Torque: 420lb ft
Transmission: Six-speed auto plus electric two-stage auto / hybrid-specific all-wheel drive
Wheels: 7J x 20 light alloy / 7.5J x 20 light alloy
Tyres: 195/50 R20 front / 215/45 R20 rear
Weight (kerb) 1490kg
0-100kph: 4.5 secs
Top speed: 250kph (limited)
Basic price: T.B.C.

Categories: Road


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