Nearly six years after its launch, production of the BMW i8 Extended Range EV has ended. Blessed with butterfly doors, 374 horsepower, 420 pound-feet of torque and a zero to 62 mph time of 4.4 seconds, this is no typical EV. Nor was it ever meant to be. When most folks think about hybrids, the Prius, Leaf, Kona or Bolt pops into their head – practical, affordable ways to get to work and do chores around town. The i8 did more than any other car at the start of the EV Evolution/Revolution to counter this image. It proved that thoughtfully designed and engineered e-mobility cars can be beautiful to look at, and take your breath away when you drive them.
The problem was and still is – its price. The least-expensive 2020 BMW i8 has an MSRP from $147,500. So this was never intended to be an inexpensive car. In city driving, its all-electric EPA range is 15 miles. With gas and electric it has a 320-mile range. The EPA also rated the BMW i8 at 76 MPGe, factoring in both gas and electric operation. Its carbon fiber passenger cell offers a 2+2 seating layout. The hybrid is classified as a 2-door coupé sports car. When it arrived, it was one of just a few “supercars” that can be driven without eco-guilt. Now there are many PHEV and HEV supercars to choose from.
For a short period of time, BMW had planned for the Vision M Next concept to become the i8’s successor, but financial troubles cause by the pandemic has pushed that car back. The Next Gen BMW M5, due to arrive in 2023 as a 2024 model could easily become BMW’s next all-electric super sedan. The car will supposedly have more power than a Bugatti Veyron. Time will tell if this turns out to be the case.
In the meantime, BMW has created a limited run of 200 i8s called Ultimate Sophisto. The MSRP of $151.495 includes a $995 destination charge tax and the Ultimate Sophisto Edition package worth $3,000. Its list of equipment includes BMW’s Comfort Access system, carbon fiber dashboard trims, electrically-adjustable heated seats, Active Driving Assistant, Apple CarPlay integration, real-time traffic information and Bluetooth/Smartphone enhanced connectivity.
Says Adrian Dorofte on the bmwblog.com: “The futuristic outer design is adorned by the deep Sophisto Grey metallic paint finish, which also gives the name of this limited i8 series. Further electrifying styling features comprise the E-Copper body accents and the 20-inch BMW i light-alloy wheels with radial-spoke design and E-Copper finish. The new i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition also comes standard with the BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line, which add shiny black accents to the window line, tailgate and C-pillar, as well as clear-glass tail lamps. Last, but not least, the brake calipers are finished in black and sport the BMW i logo, with blue detailing. The cabin of the i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition is likewise special: to 200-unit limited series i8 receives a unique Accaro interior in dual Black/E-Copper cloth/leather upholstery. In addition, the door sills bear the inscription “Ultimate Sophisto Edition 1 of 200”, which is repeated on the labels installed on the sides of the central tunnel. Furthermore, the electronic sport gearbox selector and the iDrive controller are coated in ceramic material. The Coupe variant also boasts a anthracite-colored roofliner.”
The Ultimate Sophisto Edition i8 is not available to build on the CURRENT EV website, however Current EV has the ability to shop the car via BMW dealerships for our clients.
The standard i8 – still available – can still be shopped via CURRENT EV’s Find The Best Deal.
The i8 EREV won the coveted Green Car of the Year Award in 2014 and the Luxury Green Car of the Year Award in 2015. It has won three Engine of the Year Awards, the latest in 2018 for the BMW 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid.
During its lifetime, BMW says it’s sold 20,000 i8s. It was a great testbed for future technologies and became a flagship car for BMW engineers. But its sales weren’t enough to keep it around. With a blossoming list of EVs preparing to debut, and a need for their supply chains to produce these new vehicles, BMW had to phase this car out.
Says thecarconnection.com managing editor Aaron Cole: “The 2020 BMW i8 is a moment in time for efficient performance and a relative rarity. It’s nice to drive, but very expensive. BMW’s mixed messages on the i8 never really landed. It was meant to be an efficient sports car with daring looks, but also was meant to point to an electrified future, along with the wholly unrelated i3. It succeeded at some but not all of its missions.”
Standard features include driver-adjustable suspension, LED exterior lighting (headlights, fog lights, running lights and taillights), automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, six-way power front seats, driver-seat memory settings and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Edwards reviewers say about the interior: "As with several other exotic sports cars on the market, getting into the BMW i8 requires some practice. Swing the scissor lift door up and out of the way (a cool experience in itself), and you'll find a wide door sill you'll have to step over. With that being the case, the generally accepted method involves sitting on the sill and swinging one leg in, then letting your hind quarters slip into the seat followed by the other leg, all while ducking under the bottom edge of the door. Sounds complicated, but once you get the hang of it, the procedure turns out to be no big deal. After you're in, you'll find plenty of headroom complemented by power-operated seats that offer good comfort even during a long day behind the wheel. The stylish design combined with high-quality naturally tanned leather and recycled materials gives the passenger cabin the upscale look you'd expect from an exotic sports car. Since this is a BMW, the instrument display and various center-console controls are meant for an actively engaged driver. The rear seats are really seats in name only; they're much too cramped for human habitation. Much as in a Porsche 911, it's better to think of them as an adjunct to the notably small trunk, which itself offers just 5.4 cubic feet of space."
REWRITTEN MAY 2021
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.