Used BMW i8 2014-2020 review

The transversely mounted mid-engined powerplant drives not only the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission but also a high-output starter-generator electric motor, which shuffles power back into the 7.1kWh battery under the floor. Up front, there’s a 129bhp, 184lb ft electric motor driving the front wheels.

Peaked combined outputs are 357bhp and 420lb ft. The weight of the i8 was initially a claimed 1560kg, which is about the same as a contemporary 911 and noticeably less than a Jaguar E-Type.

Performance was listed at 0-62mph 4.4sec and with a top speed of 155mph. The powertrain is willing and flexible, too. The low-profile yet relatively narrow tyres and super-stiff structure create a bit of roar, but you can still cover long distances at effortlessly high speeds in this car.

And when you do, it’s remarkable how economical the i8 can be: out on the open road you will seldom get less than 40mpg, and should see more if you plug it in regularly and your journeys are short.

Of course, if you approach the i8 hoping for a shrapnel-spitting rival to the likes of a Porsche 911 or Audi R8, you’re likely to come away disappointed.

In essence, it’s really a grand tourer and as such feels more like BMW’s own 6 Series coupé range, with steering that is light, responsive and accurate without the drama of some of its sportier rivals.

The chassis, too, is beautifully damped, and it’s supremely well matched to the powertrain – the i8 really is a lovely thing to drive.

Some complained that it didn’t have enough character, but it is not for a car to have character, but for its driver to have it. Punt it down your favourite road and you will find the i8 is an immensely and easily enjoyable thing and a surprisingly south car – unlike many of its rivals.

BMW i8 2014-2020 common problems

Engine: The engine is based on the 1.5-litre unit in the Mini Cooper. So it’s reliable and the six-speed automatic gearbox is robust. There have been issues with the fuel pressure sensor, which is prone to failure. One or two owners have reported engine failure, but the vast majority noted excellent reliability. Warnings of a low coolant level when the levels are correct suggest a sensor issue. There have also been reports of problems with overheating and a few complaints about the central controller.

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