BMW I8, £46,995
Eight years after the BMW i8 first went on sale, it’s still as eye-catching as ever. It was the second model to appear under the firm’s i sub-brand, following the BMW i3. Both introduced class-leading electrified technology, but while the i3 is the more practical choice as a daily driver, you could also make a case for the stunning-looking i8 being your everyday car.
It isn’t just the model’s dramatic exterior styling that offers a wow factor. The i8’s powertrain, innovative when launched, provides a delicious combination of pace, fuel economy and grand touring capabilities.
There’s no fruity V6. No stonking great V8. Instead, a modest 228bhp three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine drives the rear wheels, while a 129bhp electric motor supplies power to the front. It sprints from 0-62mph in 4.4sec – faster than a Jaguar F-Type V6 S and a Porsche 911 3.4 – with a top speed limited to 155mph.
A 7.1kWh battery on early cars, meanwhile, offers up to 23 miles of all-electric range. This was upgraded to a 11.6kWh battery in 2018, increasing that figure to 34 miles.
Despite having the image and speed of an out-and-out sports car, the i8’s qualities more closely resemble those of a grand tourer. It is certainly rapid, and its comfort levels mean it’s great for cruising, but the handling doesn’t quite have the sheer incisiveness of a true sports car.
The economy figures underscore its potential as a GT. Under the now-defunct NEDC test cycle, BMW claimed 149.8mpg. Our road testers, meanwhile, recorded a very respectable 50mpg during a standard touring test.
The i8 is also well equipped. Standard kit included cruise control with automatic braking, climate control, variable damper control, heated electric seats, front and rear parking sensors and a head-up display.