BMW I8 Now Truly Dead

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bmw i8 now truly dead

Pour one out for a car you likely didn’t have a hope in hell of affording — and that’s if you even desired one in the first place. Arriving on the market as a plug-in hybrid wonder car in 2014, the scissor-doored coupe found roles in top-grossing flicks and prompted saliva production among underpaid, tech-obsessed writers.

Well, the last i8 has left the factory. How much of an impact did it make?

Sales-wise, not much of one. A niche product if there ever was one, the six-figure i8, joined by a convertible later in life, was a green-tinged plaything of debatable utility. Early reviewers raised an eyebrow when the car’s potent trio of electric motors drained available battery capacity faster than the on-board gasoline generator could keep up.

Still, it was a eye-catching showpiece, signalling to the masses that BMW wasn’t afraid of an electrified future. And the automaker did improve the model’s powertrain partway through its run, adding a drop-top for good measure. The automaker’s electrification effort is still a work in process.

German outlet Bimmerpost reports that the last i8, a blue convertible, rolled out of Leipzig late last week. This event would have occurred back in April, were it not for the production-hampering coronavirus pandemic. The final crop of orders needed to be filled.

While there’s still a handful of new i8s to be added to the sales tally, it likely won’t be much. BMW sold 66 of them in the first quarter of 2020. The model’s best sales year in the U.S. was 2015, when Bimmer sold 2,265 units. Last year saw 1,102 offloaded, a better tally than the two years that came before. Through the end of April, some 175 i8s made it to European customers in 2020.

The i8 was wild, but unattainable for most. A handful of ultra-expensive niche EVs won’t placate EU regulators who’ve made it impossible for any mass-market automaker to have a future in the region without a robust electrification plan. Hence BMW’s upcoming i4 sedan, which dispenses with futuristic, look-at-me styling, and the even more conventional iX3 crossover (among others). Conservative, yes, but more sustainable and cost effective than developing prestige models that barely sell.

[Images: BMW]

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  • Varezhka Varezhka on Jun 16, 2020

    Too bad. It was one of the more attractive BMW designs in a long time. Instead we’ll be getting the more conservative and ugly naked mole rat look of the new 4 series/iX...

  • John R John R on Jun 17, 2020

    Meh. Good riddance. Green clout or not the performance never matched the pricing. NSX money for - on a good day - BNW M4 straight line performance is simply not good value no matter how glamorous it might look to enter/exit the vehicle...IF one could manage to do so gracefully. Just get an NSX if you want a go-fast hybrid.

  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.