The email’s preview pane had scarcely disappeared from my computer screen before I had replied to it.
It read: “Can you nominate your favourite car of the year?” Within seconds I’d written back: “BMW i8”, knowing that if I didn’t, somebody else – everybody else – would beat me to it.
Why is it my favourite? The i8 isn’t the fastest or most rewarding car I’ve driven this year. I like light, simple cars that handle predictably and are dynamically engaging. Cars like the Lotus 2-Eleven, Caterham Seven Supersport and Porsche 911 GT3 have the attributes that usually top my personal wish list.
The i8 isn’t like any of those. It isn’t simple, for a start. That it has a Mini Cooper engine at one end and a pair of electric motors at the other sees to that. And because of those, its dynamic reward is slightly limited, too.
This is a car that handles differently depending on whether its batteries are charged, in which case it understeers quite a lot, or empty, in which case it is slower but understeers not at all.