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.
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.
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