By Kelly Calagna, Contributing Writer
BMW set the world’s standard for the Ultimate Driving Machine®, now they are redefining it with the i8. This sporty seductress is a whole new breed of Bimmer.
For a lot of people going fast and going green are like oil and water, two passions that have not been able to effectively coexist—until now. The i8 has bridged the gap between sport and sustainability with its 420 lb-ft of torque and 357 brake horsepower being met by 76 MPGe of fuel efficiency, leaving comparable competitors in the dust. With only about 2,000 gracing the roads of North America, and the car casually selling well over its $136,500 MSRP, it was with great fortune that Coco Eco was granted the exclusive opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of these works of artistic innovation.
The look of the car screams ingenuity, with its scissor doors adding that extra heart palpitation in the chest of any enthusiast. With such a stunningly sporty design, the vehicle had to live up to its visual precedent. Designed with efficiency in mind, the automobile utilizes every curve for maximum aerodynamic productivity, aided by BMW’s EfficientDynamic ventilation technologies to channel air flow and reduce drag.
Being electric, the i8 rockets seamlessly from zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds. Additionally, the car’s rear wing provides significant downforce when accelerating up to the electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. Its two engines work in tandem, with the electric motor on the front axel, and the TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder engine bringing up the rear. The 357 horsepower these motors produce is supplemented by an electrical boost innate in BMW’s eDrive vehicles.
After a quick two and a half hour charge, the i8’s fuel efficiency can take you up to 330 miles, depending on the driving mode. The vehicle is equipped with a purely electric eDRIVE mode, and a varying degree of hybrid modes; COMFORT, SPORT, and ECO PRO. The i8 can also utilize to energy from braking, thrust, or its gas engine to charge its battery on the go.
It is with good reason that the i8 has been showered with honors such as AutoGuide’s 2015 Reader’s Choice Green Car of the Year, the 2014 Car of the Year award for Top Gear Magazine, being named the 2015 Luxury Green Car of the Year for Green Car Journal, and winning the 2015 UK Car of the Year, as well as the UK Performance Car of the Year. This eco-luxury hybrid is making waves throughout the industry. Additionally, as if the Batmobile-esque car was not fashion statement enough, Louis Vuitton has designed a luggage series to perfectly complement your i8. Further adding to the allure is the line’s exclusivity—the matching carbon fiber Louis Vuitton bags and brief case are only found in stores, and proof of i8 ownership is required to purchase.
Bavarian Motor Works has long been synonymous with luxury, and the i8 has introduced a new precedent for the standard of cars being created at the crossroads of sustainability and sport. With its first fleet of electronic vehicles garnering so much attention, it is exciting to see what eco-innovations the automotive icon has in store for the future.
PHOTO CREDIT: BMW USA & LOUIS VUITTON USA