Learning new things is paramount to the enjoyment of the i8, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in this instance

Do this job for long enough and you can get into most cars and just go. You’d don’t need to spend hours with the handbook, figuring out how the damned thing works.

The i8 is not like this. Experience of other BMWs will tell you how the nav works, but in most other respects this is a car that needs to be learned, at least if you’re hoping to make the most of it. To me, this is an entirely positive thing, because it means I’m making new discoveries every single day. The last time a BMW sports car did this was back in the 1970s with the launch of the M1.

For example, I’m still getting used to doing all local journeys on electric power. You don’t have to, of course, but with energy being far cheaper from plug than pump, why wouldn’t you? I waft around in silence, unable even to hear the noise it makes to warn those outside that it’s approaching. Pedestrians stop and stare.

But I’m also learning that it’s a magnet for every moron on the motorway. Suddenly you’re aware of a car filling the rear-view mirror, and it’s always the same: the other driver is holding up a smartphone, filming your progress. Next they’ll be alongside, before diving in front to get the full cinemascope view. It would bother me less if it weren’t so bloody dangerous.

The ride quality fascinates me, too. Sometimes it’s superb — almost eerily good, in fact — and at others it simply falls to bits. There’s a certain frequency of transverse ridge it absolutely hates. Refinement follows a similar pattern. In normal use, the car is quieter than any similar machine I can recall, until you hit a coarse surface, whereupon tyre noise becomes an instant irritant. Perhaps the carbonfibre core doesn’t soak it up like a car made from metal.

Ultimately, I’m just happy to know that the rest of the year with the i8 will continue to be a fascinating voyage of discovery. Whatever else its rivals may be able to do, they can’t offer that.

BMW i8 

Price £104,540 Price as tested £108,615 Economy 40.2mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 8.6.16

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Our Verdict

BMW i3

BMW made waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV, and continued development means the i3 keeps upping the ante

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Comments
3

4 July 2016
I've had my i8 for around a year, one of my major gripes is the annoyance of being forced to have the "Sports Suspension" setting when in "Sports Mode", which is the rapid charge mode. For most UK roads the standard setting is more than stiff enough, "Sports" is real "bone shacker", and makes me think BMW didn't recalibrate the car's suspension for UK conditions ? On one of the numerous occasions my car has been at the Dealer being repaired, I was loaned a 640D, which is a broadly similar big coupe, instantly it was noticeable that when the 640 hits a bump, there is a suspension event, followed by an event within the steel shell ( I assume absorbing the suspension event ), in the i8 with its carbon fibre mono cell, there is only "a suspension event" never a secondary "shell event", which certainly helps the serene driving experience, a bit like gliding on the road ?
These comments sound like a contradiction, but on road that is in good condition, the driving experience is serene for a high performance coupe .

4 July 2016
Ravon wrote:

I've had my i8 for around a year, one of my major gripes is the annoyance of being forced to have the "Sports Suspension" setting when in "Sports Mode", which is the rapid charge mode. For most UK roads the standard setting is more than stiff enough, "Sports" is real "bone shacker", and makes me think BMW didn't recalibrate the car's suspension for UK conditions ? On one of the numerous occasions my car has been at the Dealer being repaired

Sorry but if I had forked out £100k plus for a car, my major gripe would not be the suspension, it would be "the numerous occasions my car has been to the dealers for repair", I would be seriously upset if I had any major gripes never mind numerous ones.

4 July 2016
I like the idea of having to learn a car, gives you a bigger sense of occasion when it is new - something that is sadly lacking in modern motoring. Takes me back to the days of carbs and chokes, when you would have to learn how to coax a car in to life.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

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