By on June 16, 2020

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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9 Comments on “BMW i8 Now Truly Dead...”

  • avatar

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

    Steph Willems, GM would appreciate it if you did not use the word, “impact.”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ll miss it, and its looks reminded me of the M1.

    I’ve only ever seen 2 of them – 1 on the road, and 1 at the auto show. To my surprise, we were able to sit inside the i8. Egress over the huge door sill was awful, and reminiscent of a C3 Corvette with sidepipes.

    The funny part: my son was temporarily trapped inside the i8 because he couldn’t figure out how to use the interior door handle.

  • avatar

    Yawn, another plug-in hybrid. Hardly proof of forward-thinking on the electrification of cars.

    The only thing noteworthy about it was that it was the car BMW used as a test bed for making carbon-fiber body panels mainstream.

  • avatar

    But in much the same way that Nissan Leafs and $100k+ 7series depreciate, if you really want one of these, they’re stupid cheap; $50-60k will net you a good example, and given its nature, it’s virtually guaranteed to have low low miles.
    I don’t think BMW ever had hopes for volume sales with the thing, but I think they got more out of the i3 in terms of determining what their electrification future might look like.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, at current prices, it might be worthwhile to buy one as a driveway ornament. I expect that it would now depreciate slower than a new $60K car.

  • avatar

    “How much of an impact did it make?”

    If against concrete wall – not much.

  • avatar

    My biggest i8 regret ? It screwed up the NSX. Acura copies BMW…the ZDX, the TSX wagon, all aimed at the BMW intender but always slightly cheaper. The same follow BMW meant that Honda ended up with an equally unsellable over complicated car, where an NSX more along the Corvette-Ferrari timeline would have been a sales success….

  • avatar

    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…

  • avatar
    John R

    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.

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