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  • I remember back in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor show when BMW unveiled the Vision Efficient

  • Dynamics Concept and I remember thinking "wouldn't it be great if they built that? It'll never

  • happen, but wouldn't it be great?"

  • Then what happened was four years of technical workshops and concepts, and finally, the confirmation

  • came that BMW would build that car as the i8. And about five years after that very first

  • concept, we get to drive it for the very first time.

  • Before we get in it, you really have to take in its design as it looks absolutely incredible.

  • Considering how radical that first concept was, it's really surprising how much of it

  • BMW has managed to keep. There's a few really nice details on here, too. There's a really

  • nice sort of cut-out in the bonnet, which is finished in a contrasting colour on this

  • car. Then at the back, you've got these really elegant flying C-Pillars which leave a nice

  • little gap here. Probably the most radical thing about this car is these doors and I

  • think even in Los Angeles, these will get a lot of attention.

  • Underneath the high-tech skin are three power-sources. A 129bhp electric motor driving the front

  • wheel, as 227bhp three-cylinder driving the rears, and another small boosting electric

  • motor, which works as a generator.

  • Despite all that tech, plus the huge battery pack which allows for 22 miles of electric

  • range, the i8 manages to weight 70-kilos less than an Audi R8 - that's mostly down to its

  • high-tech carbon fibre body and aluminium chassis. As a result, it can hit 62-mph in

  • just 4.4-seconds. You've got all of this amazing technology underneath you. You've got the

  • engine, and the two electric motors, so how does it actually feel out on the road? Well,

  • when you start it, it'll be in comfort mode that gives priority to the electric motor.

  • A lot of the time, you'll be running on electric power which is what we're doing now.

  • You'll get about 22 miles of range - we have about nine miles left - and because of the

  • instant step off because of the electric motor, it feels Volkswagen Golf GTi fast. It's fast

  • enough, and you can easily travel around on electric power for the whole time, but if

  • you put your foot down while going up a hill, you can hear the engine kick in there. What's

  • amazing about that three-cylinder engine is that it sounds absolutely fantastic. It sounds

  • more like a Porsche 911 style, throaty six-cylinder. It's really, really impressive, but if you

  • want the i8 to really come alive, what you need to do is just flick it into Sport mode,

  • like that.

  • That keeps the turbocharged three-cylinder running, and the electric motors. It basically

  • gives you everything that this car has got. Again, you've got the engine, which sounds

  • even better, and because you've got the electric motor giving you that instant shove, it feels

  • fast then, and as soon as it starts to get a bit inefficient, the engine kicks in and

  • takes you a bit further. You might expect a surging, stepped acceleration, but it's

  • not. It's really smooth, kind of like a blisteringly smooth 0-62mph time of 4.4-seconds. It's just

  • so impressive.

  • And despite all this impressive performance, this sportscar that can accelerate as fast

  • as a Porsche 911, is capable of 135mpg and emits just 49g/km of CO2. These figures are

  • better than a Toyota Prius, a Yaris Hybrid and almost any other eco car you can think

  • of.

  • What you notice about driving the i8, is that it's much more than an eco-car. It's actually

  • really nice to drive, and what you notice more than anything else, is that it feels

  • really light on its feet. All that carbon fibre really seems to have done the trick.

  • We've found some great roads around here, some kind of really narrow canyon roads in

  • the hills of L.A., and it feels right at home around there, despite the fact it's so wide.

  • What stands out is that the steering is really nice, it's light and you get a really crisp

  • turn-in. If you're expecting an M Car, it's not an M Car, it has a a character all of

  • its own. It's not a big oversteering brute, it's more clinical than that, so you can feel

  • just as the back tyres are starting to lose traction, the fronts will come in and drag

  • you out, so it's really forgiving. it's not quite as sharp as a 911 maybe, but it's different

  • and it's something that I really like.

  • What's amazing about the i8 is the amount of technology you get for your money. Obviously

  • you get the carbon fibre body, there three power-trains and four-wheel drive. You even

  • get high-tech options like laser headlights, so all of that comes at a price of £100,00.

  • That is a lot of money, but it's about what you'd pay for a 911 or an Audi R8 and if you

  • ask me which one I'd have, I'd definitely go for this car because I'm a big fan of technology

  • and I'm a big fan of design - and this makes both its rivals look old hat in terms of both

  • of these things. A 911 may be a bit sharper, but what's clear, is that BMW has definitely

  • done enough to keep Audi and all other sportscar manufacturers on their toes.

  • Click on the video window to watch our review of the Porsche 911 or the Audi R8. Click on

  • the red 'play' icon to watch our very latest video, and the Auto Express logo to subscribe

  • to our channel.

I remember back in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor show when BMW unveiled the Vision Efficient

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    hohoyao posted on 2015/04/10
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