The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster is a one-of-a-kind hybrid convertible
The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster is a one-of-a-kind hybrid convertible
6:58

The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster is a one-of-a-kind hybrid convertible

Cars
[MUSIC] I've been following the BMW i8's story for quite some time, having first seen the concept in Germany back in 2011 A few years later I got to drive the production model. And I was really impressed with its futuristic design and performance. First forward to today and BMW has not only made the i8 a little more powerful. It's also given us this new road's [INAUDIBLE] Let's take a look at what makes this high tech hybrid so interesting. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Yes, the BMW I8 is a plug-in hybrid. I mean I essentially have two power trains in one vehicle. Behind me is a 1.5 liter turbo charged gasoline engine right at the 228 horsepower. It powers the rear wheels. Upfront is a 1141 horsepower electric motor driving the front wheels. Now either one of those power sources can drive the car on its own or they can work together to give me a combined 369 horsepower. [MUSIC] Of course the optimum way to use the I8 is to regularly charge up its lithium ion battery which takes about three hours with a level two charger. The EPA says you'll get 70 miles of all-electrical motoring per charge. Push the MAX eDRIVE button, and you can drive up to 75 miles per hour on battery power alone. The [UNKNOWN] is as silent and smooth as any other electric car. You can slink around town using no gasoline at all. Yet you still get wild super car looks like this, it's brilliant. [MUSIC] When the lithium ion battery is depleted or when you chose the auto eDrive driving mode, the computer decides for itself when to use the gas engine or the electric motor. Now to be honest, the three cylinder gas engine doesn't sound all that great and sometimes there's a bit of a jolt when it kicks in At city speeds, but the option having it is the you can drive for long distances even you're not able to plug in and recharge battery pack. But the best way to drive this car is by knocking the shift over [UNKNOWN] mode then computes. That keeps the engine and the motor working together at all times to give you maximum performance. That means 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds a top speed of 155 miles an hour. In a hybrid, sport mode also stiffens up the suspension dampeners and gives me a sportier engine note, although most of that engine sound comes through the speakers. It all makes the I8 genuinely Learn to drive an exciting quick steering in the low sitting position. They could feel [UNKNOWN] supercar-like. Now in the grand scheme of things, by today's standards, 369 horsepower isn't all that much but with 420 pound of torque, this car has a lot of punch when you step on it. It's not often I have a smile on my face while driving a hybrid. But the I8 is different. The differentness begins with its instruction. Like the coupe, the I8 roadster has a carbon fiber reinforced plastic tub and aluminum sub frames at either end for the suspension and power train. That carbon construction goes a long way to enabling the outlandish styling. I mean, this car looks remarkably similar to the concept from seven years ago. It's wide and low when shape to bend the wind to its will. You've got channels behind me that scoop the air through the body work, as well as all sorts of hidden vents and air guides underneath to give it that ultra low 0.28 drag coefficient. And is if the body work doesn't give you enough drama on its own, the doors open like this. [MUSIC] [SOUND] The other week I was driving a bright orange McLaren. I'm very spoiled, I know. But the things is, more people have come up to me asking me about the i8, taking photos of it, pointing and staring at it than the McLaren. Even though the i8 coupe's design has been around for a couple of years at this point, I think this car still looks like [UNKNOWN] from several years in the future. Now compare to the [UNKNOWN] the iron roads [UNKNOWN] is about 132 pounds heavier. This [UNKNOWN] could be raise or lower which is touch of a button Button in 16 seconds. The I-8 coup has some backseats. But they're so tiny and useless that I don't really mind that, in the roadster, they've been deleted. Instead, I get a little bit of storage space behind these seats, although emphasis on little because there's only 3.5 cubic feet back there. The actual trunk only adds another 4.7 cubic feet of space. So it's safe to say this is probably not the car that you're gonna take to Costco. That said, I do think there's an argument that the I8 makes a lot of sense for everyday running around. If you have a traditional super car and you use to drive short distances in the city, you're gonna get terrible fuel mileage. But in the I8 you might not use any gas at all. And in fact even when the battery is depleted and you're driving it like a regular hybrid the EPA says that you can expect 27 miles per gallon combined. That's much better mileage than I got out of that Mclaren I was mentioning. In many ways the I8 is easy to live with. The bright color instrument cluster gives you all the info you need on battery charge and energy usage. It's got the latest BMW iDrive infotainment system with a touchscreen and support for Apple CarPlay. And with the top down, you can even slide up the power wind blocker to keep your hair from getting too tussled. However, as much as I like the i8, there are a few things about it that just drive me crazy For starters, the window glass doesn't go all the way into the doors, which looks odd when driving topless. Getting in and out is a literal pain in the **** when you have to slide over the big doorsills. The ride is annoyingly fidgety at all times, no thanks to the big, 20-inch wheels. And the buttresses that look so cool from the outside generate massive blind spots for the inside. And no, blind spot monitoring is not available. [MUSIC] And then there's the price. A $164,000 before options, which is about a $16,000 premium over the [UNKNOWN]. For that sort of money, you could buy some Something like a Porsche 911 GTS or any number of sportier, higher performing cars. But that's not really the point. The I8 is special, because it's a look forward in to the future of performance cars. It's not necessarily the Best performing sports car, the most thrilling convertible, the most efficient plug-in hybrid I have ever driven. But it is an impressive demonstration of BMW's best and most innovative forward looking technology. WIth strong performance, bold styling, and zero emissions driving The BMW I8 is kind of the best of all worlds. There's no other car like it right now, and that's a big part of why I'm as excited about the I8 today as I was when I first laid eyes on the concept seven years ago.

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