Here are plenty of reasons to get a BMW i8, the indirect revival of the Bavarian marque’s 8 Series nameplate and its first plug-in hybrid sports car. For starters, it looks like a million bucks, what with its futuristic silhouette and beetle-wing doors. T
BMW says this allows for radical forms not possible with sheet metal, and provides the happy benefit of being half the weight of steel and more resistant to minor dings, but with comparable repair costs should body panels need replacing. Large parts of its chassis, too, are made of “plastics”, though in this instance, it’s the automotive wonder material, carbon fibre, which is on glorious display on the door frames, among other areas.
For all its million-dollar look and space-age construction, the i8 costs “just” $599,800. Happily enough, local i8 models come standard with the Pure Impulse package, which adds 20-inch wheels, a Harman Kardon stereo, and aesthetic touches that include extended leather trim for the interior and i8-branded brake callipers.
Staying with the “dollars and sense” part about the i8, it attracts an annual road tax bill of $1,232 (thanks to its 1.5-litre engine, but more on that later), which is a laughably tiny amount when you consider an owner of an Audi R8 V8 pads the LTA’s coffers by $4,206 every year. On top of all that, this vehicle attracts a full $20,000 CEVS rebate thanks to its 90g/km CO2 emission.
Besides penny-pinching with the taxman, the i8 will also save you money at the pumps. That’s right – it’s a sports car without a healthy thirst for unleaded. We managed around 12km per litre, despite driving around with two passengers, getting snarled in city traffic and inflicting numerous sustained bouts of go-pedal abuse.
The secret to its remarkable frugality is how it can travel for about 20km or so (37km is the claimed range) on electric