A super sports car, but not a super sports car: the BMW i8 largely receives praise, but is also met with skepticism

BMW i8 presentation test drive

i8 test drive on Hollywood Boulevard

The voltage in the Munich four-cylinder BWM can not only be measured in amperes. The BMWi group of developers and marketing staff is fighting internally for recognition and is doing everything possible to ignore problem areas of electrification on the market and in the home. The in-house i-critics do not refrain from doubting the success of the suspenseful subsidiary brand. "Almost everyone is just staring impatiently at the incoming orders in the i-area, at the number of test drives booked and at the media response," says a BMW manager. "Everyone should know that such a technology change takes a long time. There is still great interest in the i3 and soon also in the i8. ”A skeptic says:“ Interest alone and test drives are not yet sales contracts. ”Both are right. And if you subsume the opinion of the media after the press presentation in Los Angeles, all opinions are also clear: enthusiasm, criticism and cautious skepticism.

The Bild newspaper praises the sprinting ability of the i8, which sprints from a standing start to 4,4 km / h in 100 seconds and is therefore 0,4 seconds more dynamic than a Porsche 911. “When it comes to driving dynamics, the i8 becomes the ideal Porsche hunter, ”notes the image tester. In other reports it can often be read that the i8 tends to understeer - "completely unusual for a BMW and plenty of fun inhibiting". The image expert, but also the other media, attribute this to narrow 195 front tires. ams also made this experience with 215 front wheels (see below).

The image judgment at this point sounds a bit wrong: “This sports car should be the future. But somehow it looks strangely jammed. ”Why the i8 should be“ jammed ”is puzzling to me. Bild criticizes (quite rightly) the consumption standard according to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) and does not call it far from reality "one of the great idiots of our time". Because the NEDC only measures gasoline consumption at very low speeds, not the consumption of electrical energy. In the consumption test, electricity consumption flows into the complex calculation formula with zero. The fact that up to 575 grams of CO2 are generated in conventional production for one kilowatt hour of electricity, depending on the generator mix, is completely ignored.

So far so good. It is known that the NEDC values ​​are hardly realistic and can hardly be achieved even with extreme restraint when accelerating. However, the image criticism is exaggerated: “Now BMW has built a NEDC-optimized sports car. According to official measurements, the BMW i8 consumes 2,1 liters per 100 kilometers… ”Picture further:“ So if you drive 250 km / h, you consume more than 2,1 liters. And significantly more - roughly the same value, only without a comma. ”Here the author exaggerates, the consumption with the best will and even sharp driving style can hardly be brought beyond ten liters.

“All-electric, on the other hand, is only enough for 37 kilometers of smooth rolling. So much for the share of the electric drive ”, Bild sounds critical.

“BMW is demanding 125 euros for this. This is probably not much for the technical effort; for a three-cylinder plus eco make-up, however. With the legendary in-line six from earlier M days, the i000 would be the more honest car. And probably the better too, ”concludes the report.

What the author overlooks: Unfortunately, we no longer live in the earlier M days of the XNUMXs. We live in the age of a so-called "energy transition" in which we are all called to save the climate in the future. At least that is the opinion of the political mainstream. But most of all it is really about keeping an eye on the crude oil resources that will surely come to an end at some point. So we live in the age of important decisions. BMW i is an expression of such a change of direction. Back to the media:

On the website of Bimmertoday The i8 assessment in terms of consumption sounds much friendlier, but also very factual: "We want to mention the EU consumption of the BMW i8 both positively and negatively. 2,1 liters per 100 kilometers correspond to one CO2-Emissions of 49 grams per kilometer, the option to drive in the purely electric eDrive mode will continue to enter megacities and environmental zones in the future. However, you have to know that the stated value in the NEDC was determined with full batteries and is hardly realistically achievable on a long journey over 500 kilometers.

In typical everyday traffic, on the other hand, the vast majority of customers drive barely more than 40 kilometers, which is why they can theoretically be on the road for a whole week without a single gram of CO2 eject or consume a tenth of a liter of fuel. On the other hand, anyone who primarily buys the i8 for high-speed use on the freeway will go a long way from the stated EU consumption - under such extreme conditions, up to ten liters per 100 kilometers are quite possible; Crowbar can be realized.

The three-cylinder engine already mentioned naturally plays a role not only for practical use, but also for the emotions on board.

In our view, the pleasantly quiet engine harmonises very well with the overall concept of the BMW i8, but the uniquely beguiling sound of a large-volume sports engine with eight or more cylinders should not be expected - or will be disappointed.

The bottom line is that the BMW i8 has some conceptual disadvantages that are typical of sports cars with a design primarily developed in the wind tunnel. But no matter whether wing doors, trunk, everyday consumption or space in the rear - the customer should be aware that the i8 is not a 5 Series Touring even before buying. Anyone who consciously treads new paths and, despite all ecological reason, does not want to do without driving fun, will climb out of the i8 enthusiastically after the test drive, just like us and the great majority of our colleagues, ”summarizes Bimmertoday in a sympathetic matter-of-fact manner.

And what does car, motor and sport mean? I was really looking forward to it. However, a little disappointed. And it is surprising that the first i8 driving report was not mentioned on the front page or in the editor-in-chief's editorial. The story has probably been put on the last page. "Good Look!" It is headed ambiguously. Looks good, but you also want to wish BMW luck so that the i8 will be a success. The story is really fun because it oscillates between well-written seriousness and a happy travel report, conveys a little Hollywood flair and captures the reaction of passers-by. A first driving report - mind you: not test - with draft. Criticism is barely noticeable, apart from a few comments: “So we carve further, are still far from the suspected limit - but then the BMW suddenly pushes over the front wheels unusually early. Obwohk we are already on the road with the option tires including 215er; standard would only be 195s. "

A point that BMW engineers will surely tackle. ams says about the gasoline-powered range extender, which despite the sound designs can be heard like a three-cylinder by means of controlled sound transmission: "The i8 doesn't sound particularly charming, rather a bit rough." The conclusion of ams: "The dynamic promise, that the fascinating shell does not redeem the understeering driving behavior. At least during this first encounter. "

All in all, BMW can be more than satisfied with the media response to the i8. It is recognized everywhere that the consistent step into the electrical future is to be commended and deserves admiration. However, the BMW four-cylinder surprised and disappointed them that the Golf won very clearly in the ams comparison test between the i3 and the VW e-Golf, "because it is the better and more complete car. It offers more space, is more comfortable ..." . Regarding the i3, it says: "Of course the i3 is the cooler, more modern electric car, but its high-tech design hardly gives it any practical advantages here."

Anyway. The crucial question remains: will customers not only feel interest and sympathy for e-mobility, but will they also be willing to buy? The BMW four-cylinder is also eagerly awaiting an answer.

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