RIP, I8: Green Supercar Slowly Runs Out of Charge

rip i8 green supercar slowly runs out of charge

Ah, the BMW i8. First foisted upon us back in 2014, drooled over by auto and tech aficionados alike, featured in big-budget films in exotic, big-budget locales, and finally put out to pasture.

The plug-in hybrid with the fancy doors will soon depart the automotive landscape to make way for a range of (much) more conventional BMW electrics, Autocar reports.

BMW has confirmed that the i8 will cease production at its Leipzig assembly plant in April. While the exact date to be etched on the i8’s tombstone is unknown, a brand spokesman told the publication that UK dealers will need to have their final orders in by February.

The i8 was a technological — and design — marvel when it bowed over half a decade ago, yet its performance never seemed to match its stratospheric price tag. Plug-in hybrids were still a new thing at the time, and the slinky i8 was undoubtedly the most complex one on offer. Three electric motors and a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder combined to create 357 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, though its EPA-rated electric range was only 15 miles. After that, the car operated as a conventional hybrid.

When pushed hard, some reviewers noted performance loss as the car attempted to replenish its electric reserves on the fly.

BMW sought to eliminate such gripes for the 2018 model year, boosting battery size, increasing power, and giving buyers the option of motoring al fresco. But a six-figure supercar, while splashy and undoubtedly the best way to make the public aware of a company’s technological prowess, is not how you get the world on environmentally sustainable wheels. The i8’s best sales year, both in the U.S. and in Europe, was 2015. Deliveries totalled just over 2,000 vehicles in both markets that year.

As the i8 prepares for its dirt nap alongside the equally odd but far more attainable i3, the automaker has a range of staid, “safe” electric automobiles preparing to fill the EV void. They include an EV version of the long-running X3 compact crossover (dubbed the iX3), the i4 sedan, and an iNext SUV, just for starters.

Time’s running out if you’ve always longed to own an i8. Starting price on a new coupe, by the way, is $147,500.

[Images: BMW Group]

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2 of 19 comments
  • John R John R on Jan 15, 2020

    Good riddance. Hybrid supercars tend to be cynical exercises with the exception of the NSX. The current NSX is about 3x the better car at doing the hybrid-supercar thing for only about ~$10k more. Why BMW made that thing without some kind of turbo straight-six is beyond me.

  • Harwester Harwester on Aug 24, 2021

    this is an excellent new generation sport car. I really want to experience for driving it.

  • Theflyersfan I remember this era had Camrys and Accords getting thicker on the ground, but I don't recall seeing many Maximas of this generation. At least with my fuzzy recollection of the mid-80s (I was about 10), it took the next generation before seeing more of them on the roads.But the car TALKED. And especially seeing that the only other talking car you knew of was KITT, it was cool as crap to sit in a real talking car. Now we can't get our nav systems and Android Auto to shut the hell up without going through menu after submenu after settings change.
  • Rolandoblomblando I’ve stopped reading Matt Posky articles because of how cynical and ignorant they often are. When I read this headline though I just couldn’t help myself. I mean, really?!Here’s some economics 101 Matt:Demand HIGHSupply LOWmeans price INCREASESSeriously man, this isn’t complicated.
  • Irvingklaws Always wanted to try building a dune buggy (most were originally sold as kits). The Manx's are nice looking, especially when they have the 'side pods' that fill outside the tub. My favorites however were made by another manufacturer, the lesser known Bounty Hunter and subsequent derivative Deserter GT body styles. All were intended to be street legal, at least by the standards of the time. I agree it's an ideal application for EV technology.
  • AndyinMA I like these a lot, of course they will sell.
  • KOKing My parents bought 2 new Datsuns By Nissan during this time, albeit neither was a 810 (81 510 2dr 4sp and 82 720KC 5sp). A schoolmate's dad had the 810 diesel. Nowadays the crankshaft from one is the most valuable at $1-1.5k as they're used to make strokers for Z cars.