By on July 3, 2015


In light of Bark M.’s post on the possible propensity of Fiesta STs rolling over while autocrossing, and TTAC’s tradition of commenting when autojournos manage to wreck press cars (disclaimer: I once brushed a Fiat Abarth’s wheel against a curb), we bring you this report from Wrecked Exotics. A so far unidentified journalist taking an early production BMW i8 for a test drive near Mexico City managed to roll the gas-electric hybrid supercar, leaving it bottoms up.


Cars with battery packs tend to have very low centers of gravity so it takes a bit of effort to roll them. From the photos published at Wrecked Exotics, it looks to me like the driver, who reportedly was uninjured in the wreck, may have misjudged a corner and hit a stone retaining wall, causing the car to flip.


The other day, Matt Hardigree of Jalopnik posted a pretty detailed look at the business of providing press cars to journalists, including the fact that the cost to supply a single car to a single journalist for review purposes is non-trivial, averaging hundreds of dollars and sometimes running into four figures. My guess is that this will be a fairly expensive review for BMW.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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35 Comments on “Journalist Puts BMW i8 On Its Roof in Mexico City...”

  • avatar

    On the bright side, someone just got an exclusive on the aerodynamics of the undercarriage.

  • avatar

    Glad the driver was unhurt.


    1. The car looks beautiful, even upside-down (look at that smooth “belly”).
    2. The doors could open enough for escape –
    3. Those front tires are remarkably narrow for a “supercar”.

    • 0 avatar

      It is supposed to be an efficient super car, having the Mini’s 1.5 liter I3 plus the hybrid stuff.

      Plus they have to make them narrower than the rear tires to put understeer into the natuarally neutral to oversteer biased mid-engine design.

      You wouldn’t want inexperienced drivers getting into trouble.

    • 0 avatar

      4. The car came from the other side of that fence. It wasn’t driving on the street we can see in the photos, and it didn’t hit that retaining wall – it went over it. Looks like the other side is a track or parking lot that the test drive was on, and it went through the wee little green fence, and rolled over the edge.

      That’s the only way it could both break the fence, and land on it.

  • avatar

    Saw an I8 on the road for only the second time near my home. Its stunning for sure. I priced on at the local BMW dealership and it had a 20k mark up..darn..

  • avatar

    Like a bug; flip it over, it’ll scrabble away looking the same as before.

  • avatar

    Bad Idea to call Mexican car reviewer Espidio Gonzalez (AKA Speedy) to do the i8 review.

  • avatar

    The name of the reviewer is Carlos Sandoval.

    He works for Autoexplora Magazine.

    • 0 avatar

      Do you have a link for that? I can’t find anything online about Sandoval and an i8.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlos Sandoval

      Hello Luis, nice to meet you.

      I’m Carlos Sandoval, Editor for Autoexplora Magazine. It looks just so funny, you know, I just can’t remember ever meet you.

      That accident that “I had” with the BMW i8 must have been very hard, because I can’t remember anything. I´ll assume some brain damage.

      Let me just share with you what I do remember:

    • 0 avatar

      I reached out to Carlos Sandoval, who explains that no, he wasn’t the one who flipped the i8. He was gracious enough to reply to TTAC:

      “Carlos Sandoval
      Managing Editor

      Hello Ronnie.

      Is good to know about your “well informed” mexican readers. I also read your (let me say: great) website from time to time.

      Quick facts:

      – I scratched an Audi R8 in Nürburgring SIX years ago. Since then, I am the “exotic wrecker” in México. The car actually got repaired in a couple of days. Nothing to alarm. My Nürburgring Audi R8 V10 test (Lord of the Ring) was published on the cover of the magazine I used to work at that time, also cover in a Colombian and a Spanish magazine.

      – I was the first mexican journalist to drive the BMW i8…more than one year ago (april 2014). I published the test drive in our magazine, and that was it.

      – The BMW i8 in México had only three media drives last year. We were the first.

      – The media outlet responsible for that accident in no how related to me.

      – I know the media responsible for that, the guy who was driving, and also the detailed circumstances on how it happened.

      – It´s a shame that an i8 got wrecked.

      – The two guys who where inside the car are OK and still working as car journalists.

      – The car now its been used as a technical training “tool” in BMW.

      – The accident actually happened a few months from now, but someone couldn’t resist the temptation to publish the photos and started all this messy thing.

      – The mexican car media is quite gossipish.

      – Some guy started to joke that maybe it was me (again) the one driving the car. But actually all the mexican car journalist know who actually was.

      – I don’t think publishing names is the right way on this situations. Car journalists in the world we are just a bunch, some better than others, some worst. My own perspective is to care abut everyone of them (us).

      – Today a “specialized media” published on their FB account that I was te guy driving the car.

      – BMW México already got in touch (official) with that media and asked to remove my name from that fake claim.

      – I am here not to judge anyone. I think is not my responsibility to call for the real facts publicly.

      – Shitt happens.

      – As of today I have more than 10 years driving and writing about cars, also worked as PR at Mastretta (you may remember that “Tortilla Car” issue with our friends on Top Gear). I´m editor of the second biggest mexican car magazine (looking for the first place) and among other things, I was selected as Juror for the World car of the Year Awards (2016), with only two Latinamerica jurors, I´m the only mexican this year.

      – Last point sounded little ego focused, I don´t like that, but I also need to (at least try) keep my image as healthy as possible.

      Thanks for getting in touch, this is what really makes the difference between the shitty yellow press and the real journalist.



      • 0 avatar

        Excellent summation, Carlos, and one done with restraint and regard for others, where sensationalism and finger-pointing would have been easy.

        As a person who can read Spanish fairly well, I will now be looking for your magazine and a web presence. If the rest of your publication is in line with your post here, it will surely go onto my list of preferred quality reading.

        Thanks again for your contribution.

  • avatar

    I drove the i8.

    HOW THE HELL DO YOU FLIP A CAR with a Center-of-Gravity this low???

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      From the section of fencing on the road it’s pretty clear what happened: the driver was traveling downhill around the blind left hand corner in the background of photo 2; he lost control and barreled up the stone wall, peeling off a 20′ section of fence before completing his rollover and coming to a halt.

      • 0 avatar

        I lived in the DF for over a year. I bet I could flip the USS Missouri in in any 500 sq ft section of that city.

        The roads and drivers there are unique. They don’t have any issues with slow moving drivers in any left late of flowing traffic.

      • 0 avatar

        That was my first thought, that he oversteered into the wall as he was coming towards the camera position in photo 2, but the damage to the car, along with green paint from the fence, is on the right hand side of the car so maybe he was traveling in the other direction, didn’t make the 90 deg left, hit the wall and barrel rolled the car, ending up with it facing in the opposite direction.

        • 0 avatar
          Felis Concolor

          Ah yes, now I note the damaged right side; definitely on an uphill track?

          The one rollover that puzzles me to this day occurred nearly 30 years ago at the corner of Hina Ave and Molokai Akau St in Kahului: in the green house’s driveway imagine a burgundy Beretta, upside down, with its nose facing towards the street. I caught it for a few seconds on my way to the cannery and the police officer observing it was shaking his head.

      • 0 avatar

        Why then is the right mirror still in place, and how did the left front corner hit the green fence with absolutely no damage from the rock wall? As I state below, I think the car fell down from above the rock wall.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes – as I said above as well. The car clearly came from the other side of the green fence, and flipped as it went over the retaining wall from above. You can even see the orange cones in the background that presumably marked the course it was supposed to follow.

          The driver overcooked it somewhere, went off course, through the green fence, and rolled it off the ledge, onto the unrelated road below.

  • avatar

    Looks better upside down, which isn’t saying much.

  • avatar

    cjin,you talk aload of bollocks

  • avatar

    Is this another car we should worry about autocrossing?

  • avatar

    This is what one of my commanding officers referred to as ‘the highlight of your miserable little career.’ Enjoy working for Redbook.

  • avatar

    My guess is that the car slid off the grassy field above the rock wall, front right wheel first, damaged the nose and right rocker area as it dropped over the wall, then flipped as it went over the wall. The position of the break in the wire fence, the position of the dislodged section of fence, and the traffic cones on the grassy area support this.

  • avatar

    And they say American cars can’t turn LOL

  • avatar

    My biggest problem are the narrow profile tires – a concession to the limitations of an electronic engine.

    That, and not having a cabrio.

    Fix those two things, even if they cut the range in half, and I’d be seriously considering one.

  • avatar

    As Jerry Seinfeld would say “that’s a shame”

  • avatar

    I wonder what Donald Trump has to say about this.

    • 0 avatar

      The Donald would say that the driver was a Mexican killer and rapist in too big a hurry to cross the border into the US.

      He is rather a one trick pony on the issue.

      • 0 avatar

        I could not believe when I heard some of his quotes about Mexicans on the radio. What completely xenophobic moron. Furthermore, how many votes does he think he’s gaining with that kind of attitude?

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