Our hybrid sports car proves ideal for a lonely drive to Spa
Andrew Frankel Autocar
10 November 2016

Every September I jump in a car and head to Belgium to compete in the Spa Six Hours.

And for the past five years, me, various relatives and a bloke called Chris Harris have raced a 1965 Ford Falcon, a safe old bus that is both lighter (about 1100kg) and more powerful (around 460bhp) than it looks.

The route to Spa is dull, but I’ve always enjoyed it, not least because Harris provides weapons-grade banter all the way. But this year he was committed elsewhere, so I faced the drive with just an i8 for company.

Happily, I love travelling alone. In fact, and with very few exceptions, I prefer it. Go alone and you leave when you want, listen to what you want, drive how you like and get there without anyone requesting a loo, coffee or, God forbid, meal break. So I rose at 3am, was out of the country before most had even woken up and at Spa for an early lunch.

And apart from its refusal to communicate with my iPhone unless connected via a genuine Apple cable, the i8 was superb. I wondered how Belgium’s coarse motorways would resonate through the carbonfibre structure, because road noise is very surface-dependent in the UK, but it was fine. It rode beautifully, bettered 40mpg and proved again that you don’t need 16-way adjustable seats as long as you have a fundamentally sound driving position and a decent chair, both of which it has.

Once there, I introduced it to my brother, who’d hoofed across from another part of the UK in his Alpina D3 daily driver. He emerged from the i8 looking satisfyingly thunderstruck and announcing he’d seen the future.

For once, the race went well, and the following morning the i8 whisked me and a mild hangover back to Wales with so little fuss that I barely remember a thing about it. And that’s the joy of this car: if there is another out there that is as good at rewarding you when you want to drive and as unobtrusive when you need to relax, I’ve not driven it.

BMW i8

Price £104,540 Price as tested £108,615 Economy 43.2mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 28.9.16

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Comments
6

10 November 2016
For a 2+2 car that fast that's staggering, although if you can afford the car the fuel costs are probably not that important

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 November 2016
Yes, fuel costs probably not a primary concern, but range is. And there is something very satisfying about a car that is efficient as well as fun to drive.

10 November 2016
"the following morning the i8 whisked me and a mild hangover back to Wales" Lucky you were not stopped by the Police then. Driving in the morning after an evening of drinking particularly with a hangover can mean that you are over the legal limit for drinking and driving. when I used to be an adviser to a certain Police Force morning breathalyser stops (particularly around Christmas and the New year) provided fertile ground for drink drive prosecutions. Mind how you go.

10 November 2016
My ownership experience mirrors Andrew's comments . A fabulous car in it's own right, which replaced a 997 Targa 4, I which after a few months I didn't miss at all, good car that it was, the i8 just moves the game on .

10 November 2016
..."with so little fuss that I barely remember a thing about it". Wonder if that was ALL to do with the BMW?

Wide cars in a world of narrow.

12 November 2016
what a selfish and disgusting waste of time and energy.

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