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Arbee's Review of the BMW i8
It’s actually a funny story how I received an email invite to test drive the i8. A few years ago, a forum member who at that time, I had only met via a whatsapp group asked me to test drive a BMW 1M for him in JHB as he is from KZN. Anyways, he ended up buying the car and I collected it and got the motorplan transfer done for him at Lyndhurst Auto. At this stage, Lyndhurst captured by email address as the owner of 1M’s. Luck I suppose as all the nice invitations come to me, address to the owner of the 1M… BMW really takes care of their top end customers!

Anyways, last week an email received, inviting me to spend some time with the i8 and i3, the hybrids of the BMW stable. I obliged and spent a good hour with the cars. Took them both for a test drive around Melrose Arch and onto the M1.

The i8 was first as I was pretty keen on driving it for a while now. First impression of its styling is completely space age, it’s the style of car you would expect in a fantasy movie about flying cars and dragons. It’s aggressive, with bold extensions of the body and sharp edges. Appealing to some but not all. Just parked on a corner in Melrose Arch, it gathered attention of many people. Taking pictures, cupping the hands over the windows to look inside while in awe. When on the road, people point and stare, then move out the way to give you open roads.

The BMW Genius, or salesmen unlocked the car and I startled a little expecting the doors to automatically open. They didn’t, its manual with a hidden door handle. Took a few seconds to fumble around but eventually located it tucked away between the door and body panel next to the door. Door open with a flip and up-wards, wow! Got me thinking, if I was in a tight parking spot, I would probably have to hold the door half way and roll out the car.

This particular i8 is the demo car for Melrose Arch, with 26 000km odd its seen many people get in and out. So, the entry point was pretty scuffed. The door itself felt loose as it swung up and down.

Got into the car and was briefed with all the usual, the cabin looked good, in true BMW fashion, nothing to shout about really. Although one would expect a little different gear lever coupled to the space age looking steering and instrument cluster. It’s the same old, F30’ish gear lever. The steering looked and felt good, I guess its different, big ups on that one.

So, the modes, there’s 3 if I remember correctly. Comfort which is electric until 65km/h. I couldn’t really drive below 65km/h, who does that on a test drive!? But from the little charge we had left, I honestly could not feel any different from lower speed or comfort mode, into sport mode which turns the instrument screen colours from blue to red. In sport mode, the car accelerates rapidly but smooth, very smooth. I compared the ride to the F30’s and the i8 feels space age, as if you are flying above the earth. The third driving mode, e-drive disabled the rear wheels and engages front wheel drive, guess what? There wasn’t enough charge to allow us to drive it in this mode.

Some facts, as per the Genius, in Comfort mode, you can do a max off 500km using a fully charged battery and a full tank of petrol (42 Litres). Obviously, using sport mode and driving style dependent will bring range lower.

The drive like I said it’s smooth and rapid, we didn’t go top speeds as JHB traffic is JHB traffic. I can’t really pin point any other differences to a normal R500k BMW.

I complimented the sound of the car then asked, isn’t this like a 3cylinder 1.5l hybrid. How does it sound like a V8? FAKE!!! Its fake sound… Played through what’s called a synthesizer and output through speakers on the inside and outside of the car. You can actually change the tone and volume on the ODB. This is where I began to lose interest in the car. I mean, I know the M4 and many cars have it but they at least have some sort out exterior tone which is real.

I wouldn’t say I’m thrilled about the i8. I guess, for 1.8 million Rand, I would rather buy an M6 and possibly have some change for the fuel bill.

If i had more time, i would have detailed the review a little more...

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The following 8 users Like Arbee's post:
  • B1gw1ll, Divio, JG_RSA, Lizzard, moranor@axis, Peejay, r0ckf1re, Spiro
awesome write up Arbee!!
The following 1 user Likes AlexYannoulatos's post:
  • Arbee
Nice honest review, Thanks Arbee...

So far i8nt a fan ....
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The following 1 user Likes Divio's post:
  • Arbee
Nice honest review!
The following 1 user Likes 444YYY's post:
  • Arbee
Nice Honest review !

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The following 1 user Likes FiRi@Rennzport's post:
  • Arbee
Great review Arbee Ty
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The following 1 user Likes B1gw1ll's post:
  • Arbee
Thanks guys...

Review of the i3 to follow soon...
Great, honest write up. The i8 really is a niche-car for a niche-market. If I were shopping for sports cars in that price bracket I would rather pick up an Aston Martin Vantage, M6 or Jaguar F-Type R. The i8 is going to become dated real quick due to the radical styling.
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The following 2 users Like Hugo_za's post:
  • 444YYY, Arbee
Nice honest review Arbee .
The following 1 user Likes GGM's post:
  • Arbee
(29-02-2016, 11:24 AM)GGM Wrote: Nice honest review Arbee .

Thanks G... Thanks to you, i got the invite! Blowheart
(29-02-2016, 11:25 AM)Arbee@TheFanatics Wrote:
(29-02-2016, 11:24 AM)GGM Wrote: Nice honest review Arbee .

Thanks G... Thanks to you, i got the invite! Blowheart

You're welcome bro , You did enough for me and can continue to accept invitations Ty
The following 1 user Likes GGM's post:
  • Arbee
great Reivew Arbee
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The following 1 user Likes sash's post:
  • Arbee
Cool review Clapper
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The following 1 user Likes Xack's post:
  • Arbee
The most scathing review of the car i've read.
The following 1 user Likes MaX's post:
  • Arbee
Good review Thumbs
Thanks for posting.
The following 1 user Likes JG_RSA's post:
  • Arbee
The following 1 user Likes MikeR's post:
  • Arbee
At first, when the I8 was released, i was quite impressed by it's looks and interior. (Nope, haven't driven one). However on closer inspection, what annoys the cr@p out of my is the shared switch gear. Well this translates to most of the models. You can get the same steering wheel on a top of the range M5/6 on a 316i. Quite freakin sad. All interiors are more or less the same, with the exception of chrome/carbon fibre options.
End of rant/
The following 2 users Like ZMC's post:
  • Arbee, Divio
This fake sound stuff, is really disgusting. It is like spitting in the face of all internal combustion engines.

I find it it dishonest.

Nice write up sir.
The following 2 users Like Dewald Basson's post:
  • Arbee, ZMC
As an avid fan of the BMW I8, I didn't come to the same conclusion as you after spending time with one previously. It's a lovely piece of technology, I was fascinated at its power delivery, being so smooth even though it's coming from two different power plants simultaneously and disregarded the points you mentioned with regards to the entrance to and from the vehicle, this car's market is beyond the regular customer, it's an occasion everytime you get in and I feel you missed that.

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The following 1 user Likes Karthik's post:
  • Arbee
Nice ArbeeClapper

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