BMW i8 Roadster 2018 UK review
On anything but faster, smoother A-roads and motorways in and around the national speed limit, the i8 is just too darn firm. Not ‘sporty’ firmness, either, more the sort tuned into the suspension to try and mask the lack of body control.
It’s far more fun accelerating out of a corner than slowing down and turning in for one, thanks to a combination of a weird numb and unresponsive feeling in the first half of the brake pedal travel, and a tendency to understeer when pushed. Still, it corners flat and it corners fast, without ever really involving you in anything other than when you floor the pedal on the way out of a corner to enjoy that point-to-point pace once more.
It won’t surprise you to learn the official fuel economy of 141mpg is not an accurate figure – when the battery runs out you’ll get a fairly steady 35mpg no matter what the road conditions, so divide that by the length of your journey and what you’ll manage to get from the 30 miles or so of electric power to know how efficient it’s going to be for you. But whatever the combined petrol-electric economy is, even at its worst, 35mpg is mightily impressive for a car with such sporting pretensions.
Should I buy one?
Calling things ahead of their time is quite a lazy thing to do, for we should instead adjust our thinking to try and see a creation as its maker.
That’s relevant to the i8 – you know the future won’t look like this, and this car is instead 2014’s vision of the future rather than the present day’s, with everything that’s happened around electric cars and legislation in the intervening period. To that end, I doubt BMW would replace the i8, when electric cars of all types become the norm rather than a special preview of things to come.
In this era, price and layout wise, the i8 is a sports car alternative to a Porsche 911. As a sports car, it just isn’t as good, as either a coupé or now a roadster. As a technological achievement and statement of intent for the way the industry is heading, the i8 is a modern great, and the roadster version that formula made more desirable with nothing more than the usual compromises such a conversion from a fixed-roof that brings.
Is it particularly engaging? Not really. But then neither is the coupé. Yet the i8 is still beguiling enough to have our blessing, and in its niche class of one, the roadster is the variant to go for. Time and history will be very kind to a car as innovative as this.
BMW i8 Roadster specification
Where Warwickshire, UK Price £124,735 On sale now Engine 1499cc, 3-cyl, turbocharged, petrol, plus electric motor Power 369bhp (combined) Torque 236lb ft at 3700rpm (petrol engine) and 184lb ft (electric motor) Gearbox 6-spd auto for petrol engine, 2-spd auto for electric motor Kerb weight 1595kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 4.6sec Fuel economy 141mpg CO2 46g/km Rivals Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type
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November 9, 2018 at 10:41AM