A round trip of more than 600 miles allowed our hybrid Beemer to flaunt its comfortable ride and relaxing demeanor
Andrew Frankel Autocar
24 January 2017

Last time I wrote at length in this spot, the BMW i8 had just taken me to Belgium and back.

Since then, its work rate has only increased and the reason why is simple: I use it for everything. This is not as obvious as it sounds. Were this any other £100k GT, I’d never use it for the school run or local shopping, because it would cost me the thick end of a fiver in fuel every time I did. The i8, by contrast, will do 18 of the 20-mile round trip on electrons alone, reducing the cost of the journey to a matter of a few pence.

Others in the locality are wising up to its virtues, too. A chum to whom I’ve been dispensing car advice for 20 years or so rang to quiz me more closely. He has been thinking about getting a new Porsche 911, and an excellent choice that would be, but the much lower costs of running an i8 as a company car seem likely to swing the balance BMW’s way.

But oddly enough, the i8 remains at its best on long runs, where its hybrid system is probably at its least influential. Recently, I drove it to Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport operation in Cockermouth, then out to a local airfield for a rendezvous with a Ford Fiesta R5 rally car and home again. The round trip was better than 600 miles, involving the M6 rush hour at both ends of the day, but the sound system and refinement kept me sane, while the ride and superb seats kept me comfortable and feeling fresh. Only the occasionally dodgy DAB reception and the perennial problem of parking in a way that ensures you don’t get blocked in counted against it. And it still did more than 40mpg.

As we head towards winter, it will be interesting to find out what happens to battery life on cold days and how the four-wheel drive copes with poor driving conditions. In the meantime, the promise made by the appearance of the i8 continues to be kept in full by the car beneath.

BMW i8

Price £104,540 Price as tested £108,615 Economy 42.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 19.10.16

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Comments
5

24 January 2017
If it can cope in Norway then it'll be fine, besides knocking down the battery 10% on the coldest of cold days is going to make no real difference to the mpg.
As a footnote I'm spending 10 minutes defrosting the car at the moment if there's any owners out there how long does a Leaf or i3 take, do they have timers?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

24 January 2017
An i3 has both pre-set and on-demand preconditioning of the battery (warming it up in advance of a trip for more range) and pre-conditioning of the interior (allowing defrost and cooling). Both can pre set based on a departure time or on demand when required (or when you forget to set timers!). This morning my i3 was warm and cosy at 7.45 when i set off with neighbours needing to scrape off the ice...the car needs to be 'plugged' in to do this though!! Im in East Yorkshire and i now regularly see 2x i8's and 2 other i3's on the school run...a sure sign sales are moving upward (in August 2016 when i got mine the i3 was the best selling electric car in Europe for august sales - BMW pushing both retail and lease deals then). I have driven an i8 and it is superb. Pretty unique at its price i would say.

24 January 2017
I don't have this issue as my i3 sits in the garage. However, it has a timer both for cheap-rate electricity and for pre-heating (plus you can start the preheating from the app).

24 January 2017
chandrew wrote:

I don't have this issue as my i3 sits in the garage. However, it has a timer both for cheap-rate electricity and for pre-heating (plus you can start the preheating from the app).

Thanks, nice to hear about the cheap rate electricity too as I had a right set-to with someone (GIGGLEBUG I think) on this website about that once

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

27 January 2017
xxxx wrote:
chandrew wrote:

I don't have this issue as my i3 sits in the garage. However, it has a timer both for cheap-rate electricity and for pre-heating (plus you can start the preheating from the app).

Thanks, nice to hear about the cheap rate electricity too as I had a right set-to with someone (GIGGLEBUG I think) on this website about that once

If electric cars ever caught on in the manner you think they will (they won't), a fuel tax would be imposed on charging them to make a charge cost the same as a tank of petrol. Pretending otherwise is pathetically childish. Electric cars are going nowhere.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

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