First drive of the 2015 BMW i8

BMW i8 rear view

Photo: Graeme Fletcher,


Yesterday, posted their First Drive of the 2015 BMW i8. Like most high performance vehicles today, the i8 features different Driving Experience modes that tune the suspension and change how the drivetrain responds to driver input. This review focuses on those driving dynamics, as well as the ways that the two powertrains work together to provide maximum torque, maintain traction, or boost efficiency.

The dual powertrain scheme also works to make the i8 especially nimble by mounting the electric engine in the front and the turbo 3 cylinder gas engine in the rear. The weight distributed more evenly over each axle means better grip, and the i8 achieves perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Porsche 911-style oversteer won’t be a problem during bouts of spirited driving in the i8.

This split in powertrain layout also allows for on-demand all wheel drive. The computer will utilize both in concert to provide power and handling. This is the same type of layout and technology that Nissan used on their GT-R to deliver amazing acceleration and grip in corners–by placing the weight of the front mounted engine and the rear mounted transmission over the axles. However, the i8 does its thing on just 2.8l of fuel per 100km vs. 14.5l per 100km in the GT-R.

The write-up is also full of some great, exclusive photos. Since we don’t have ours yet here at I really appreciated the closeup pics of some of the i8’s more distinct design cues. Check out the pictures with the doors open. You get a close look at the carbon fibre reinforce plastic chasis.

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