By all standards measures of beauty, the BMW i8 is a stunning car to look at. When it was first launched back in 2014, it was an instant head turner. It looked as if BMW had plucked a car right out of the future and set it down on our public roads.
But for all the pomp and ceremony that accompanied the car’s launch, and for all the incredible performance that the new hybrid vehicle had, there were some problems.
When the i8 originally debuted, people thought that it would be a “Tesla killer.” The idea was that BMW, an experienced manufacturer, would flex its experience and financial might and bring its young upstart competitor to its knees. But that’s not what actually happened. Instead, the i8 was plagued by reliability issues while the Model S went on to be voted not just the best electric car, but the best car ever made.
So what went wrong, and why were so many people taking their i8s to repair garages, like Bavarian BMW. The reason has to do with the combination of it being both a high-performance and a hybrid car – something otherwise reserved for hypercars like the Mclaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari. Hybrid cars use two different engine systems to propel a car forward: the standard internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Having two engines is complicated enough, but the real problem comes when the two try to interface with each other. Not only are there two sets of moving parts to deal with, but there is also all the connections between them.
The i8 appears to have fallen foul of the cost of accommodating all of this increased complexity in a sporty package. BMW clearly wanted a car that would go as fast as it looked. But by going down the hybrid route, rather than pure electric, they’ve had to make some compromises on reliability.
Some Drivers Have Had No Issues
With that said, some drivers claim that they’ve had no problems with the car and that it could function perfectly well as their daily driver. And what a car it is to drive every day! BMW had the right idea when they decided to go for a carbon fiber tub, gullwing doors and noise dampened interior padding. The car is just stunning to look at and broke the monotonous appearance of the rest of their line. It looked like a BMW, but more the sort of car you would see as a concept on the show floor, not something that people could actually drive.
Public Perceptions Are Mixed
Is the car too flashy? Some would say so. Although it’s a beauty for those who love the latest and greatest sports car designs, others have reservations about what the car says about the driver inside. There’s a perception that people who own the i8 are “trying too hard” – whatever that means. Meanwhile, other people are so in awe of the car that they see it as a photo opportunity, asking drivers to take pictures of them while they pose next to the car.