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