What is it?
It’s strange to think that the BMW i8 has been with us since 2014. One look at it still gives the impression that it’s somehow arrived in the present day from some alternate future timeline, as opposed to the reality, which is that it’s actually a car that has been on sale for four years.
Anyway, the fact that those years have passed means the i8 was up for a midlife facelift, and this is it. Not that you’d really notice, mind; the changes — at least in terms of what you can see — are actually rather minor. There are two new colours to choose from — E-Copper and Donnington Grey — anda new 20in alloy wheel design. ‘Coupé’ badges are fixed to the C-pillar, distinguishing this particular i8 from its new Roadster stablemate, although we’d argue that the Roadster’s folding soft-top roof does a pretty good job of this, too. There are a handful of new interior colour schemes available as well.
The headline update for the i8, though, concerns the electric motor that’s mounted at its nose and the battery that powers it. By increasing the energy capacity of the i8’s lithium ion battery from 20Ah to 34Ah, BMW has been able to boost the electric motor’s peak power output so that it now develops 141bhp. Combined with its Mini-sourced three-cylinder petrol engine, the i8 now makes a total 369bhp.
The changes to the battery also means the i8’s all-electric range has increased by 50%. Fully charged, it’ll cover 34 miles on electricity alone. As before, the electric motor drives the front wheels via a two-speed automatic gearbox, while the rears are powered by the petrol engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.