2020 BMW I8 Plug-in Hybrid

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in Coupes
2020 MODEL
$147,500

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2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide


CARHP Editorial Updated on: November 25, 2019


Arrived in 2014, the BMW i8 is a fresh journey of the German automaker to mark its presence in the EV segment. BMW offered the sole Coupe trim back in 2017. This year, we get an additional i8 Roadster. Both models are an example of BMW's great design philosophy and their ability to take a peek into the future of automobile design

Starting at $147,500, the 2020 BMW i8 Coupe is powered by a plug-in gas-electric hybrid engine that is capable of delivering a combined power output of 420 horsepower. With an 11.6 kWh battery that powers an electric motor, the car can travel 22 miles solely on the electric power. Not to mention the car has EPA figures unheard of in this range of performance figures.

See detailed review »

Pros

Powerful gasoline-electric drivetrain

Attractive futuristic design

Good fuel economy

Cons

The price doesn't seem worth it

More electric range would be nice

Difficulty getting in and out of the car

What's New?

A new convertible trim added to the lineup

Tuned for more power and range


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$147500

bodystyle

2dr Coupe

passenger capacity

4

drivetrain

AWD

engine type

displacement

91 cu.in.

horsepower

228 hp @ 5800 rpm

torque

236 lbs.-ft @ 3700 rpm

transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

frame type

monocoque

suspension front

Independent front double wishbone suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

64.7/67.8

dimensions

wheelbase

110.2 in.

length

184.9 in.

width

76.5 in.

height

50.8 in.

curb weight

3501 lbs.

ground clearance

4.6 in.

capacity

passenger volume

38.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

4.7 cu ft.

payload capacity

620 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.6 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

TBD/27/TBD mpg

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

powertrain warranty

48 months. / 50000

corrosion warranty

12 yr. / unlimited

roadside assistance

4 yr. / Unlimited



Styles

 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Donington Gray Metallic color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in E-Copper Metallic wFrozen Gray Accent color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Crystal White Pearl Metallic wBMW i Frozen Blue color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Crystal White color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Sophisto Gray Metallic wFrozen Gray Accent color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Sophisto Gray Metallic color
Donington Gray Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine And Performance

8.0

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

7.0

Exterior

9.0

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Base

Base

power
228 hp @ 5800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (required)
mpg
27 combined

$147,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A) Starting at $147,500 MSRP (27/) 228 hp @ 5800 rpm, 1.5 L, I-3, premium unleaded (required)
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 4   E-Copper w/Highlight Frozen Grey Metallic
  Sophisto Grey Metallic w/Frozen Grey Accent
  Donington Grey Metallic
  Sophisto Grey Metallic w/BMW i Frozen Blue Accent

Expert Review

7.2

Overall Rating


This year, BMW has tuned the i8 Coupe for more power and efficiency. It competes with similar sports cars like the Audi R8 Coupe, Tesla Model S, and Porsche 911. With its amazing philosophy, the BMW is believed to list the i8 on the top of the segment. While not exactly an ace, the 2020 BMW i8 Coupe does what is expected of a performance coupe of this price range, and adds to it enough to blow our minds away with its design and technology.


7.0/10
Features

 

8.0/10
Engine and Performance

 

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.0/10
Interior

 

9.0/10
Exterior

 
 
 
 

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Features

7.0/10

The 2020 BMW i8 base Coupe version offers 2+2 seating arrangement. The German carmaker has provided two optional packages, the Tera World, and the Tera World Copper. Both packages can be availed at an extra cost of $3,700. The Tera World packages include features such as black brake calipers, leather engine cover, headliners in Anthracite, BMW i-Blue seatbelts, ceramic controls, Tera-exclusive Dalbergia brown leather upholstery with cloth accents.

The Tera World Copper package adds nothing new to the Tera World. Just a couple of interior and exterior color schemes separate it from the Tera World package.

Trims

BMW i8 Coupe

MSRP

$147,500

Key Features

1.5L Turbocharged Inline-3 with an electric motor

 

369 hp

 

420 lb-ft of torque

 

Leather And Alloy Steering Wheel

 

11.6 kWh Lithium-Ion Battery

 

Adjustable MR-Fluid Suspension

 

Electrochromic Inside Rearview Mirror

 

Front And Rear Parking Sensors

 

Interior Air Filtration 

 

Extended Cabin Heating/Cooling

We Recommend

There are not many options to choose from here. The 2020 BMW i8 Coupe comes as a single trim. Still, you get to choose from a few optional packages. These are more focused on cosmetic supplements rather than the performance of the car. Thus, you can do no harm sticking to the base coupe.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Engine and Performance

8.0/10
“The i8’s performance is impressive considering its efficient powertrain—not its relatively high price.”- The Car Connection

Engine and Transmission

The 2020 BMW i8 comes assembled with a plug-in hybrid engine that emerges as an amazing performance churner. A 1.5-liter turbocharged engine produced 228 horsepower along with 236 pound-feet of torque. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels. The electric motor returns 141 hp and 184 lb-ft while driving the front wheels. The total engine output with the combo turns out to be 369 hp.

Since two separate powertrains drive the front and rear axles independently, the i8 is essentially an AWD. With the same engine as a Mini Cooper S coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, the i8 never seems clunky to shift gears. The response is immediate and downshifting is especially fun. You can get better performance on paper considering the price range, but the i8's unique engine design makes it well worth the money.

Models

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

MSRP

$148,495

$159,300

$141,250

$136,200

$143.600

Engine

1.5L I-3 Intercooled Turbo Gas/Electric

3.5L V6 Twin Turbo Gas/Electric

5.2L FSI V10 

Dual Electric Motors

4.0L Flat-6

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

9-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic

7-Speed S Tronic Manual

Single-Speed Automatic

7-Speed PDK Automatic

Horsepower

369

573

532

750

500

Torque(lb-ft)

420

476

398

792

339

All of the gas guzzlers in the segment pack in more power under the hood. In spite of that, it is the purely electric Tesla Model S that comes with the highest power output of all. The Performance 100D trim puts out 750 hp and 792 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. Considering the transmission, nothing comes close to Porsche's PDK dual-clutch system.

Acceleration

Having a hybrid powertrain comes with its own benefits. One of them is that the combined gas/electric system gives a lively acceleration when you put the foot down. The electric motor makes up for the turbo lag, never letting you feel you are out of power within any rev range. The BMW i8 Coupe can sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and can complete a quarter-mile run in 12.4 seconds. The hybrid powertrain also help the owners save a lot on EPA-imposed emission taxes.

Models

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

0-60 MPH

4.2 sec

3.0 sec

3.2 sec

2.3 sec

3.0 sec

Quarter mile

12.4 sec

11.2 sec

11.5 sec

10.5 sec

11.2 sec

Engine

1.5L inline-3 Turbocharged Gas/Electric

3.5L V6 Twin-Turbo Gas/Electric

5.2L FSI V10

Dual Electric Motors

4.0L Flat-6

Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

4.57

8.40

9.83

0.0

10.14

The i8 is an impressive sports car but if you consider other cars in the segment, it will most likely be trailing the pack in a drag race. The fastest of the bunch is the Tesla with its 700+ hp delivered through the front and back of the electric motors. A 2.3-second 0-60 time puts it right into the frame of supercars like the Lamborghini Aventador and the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. Even the Acura NSX, which uses the same drivetrain concept, turns out faster than the BMW i8.

Braking and Handling

The brakes on the BMW i8 are not the biggest, yet the lightweight body construction does it many favors. The i8 Coupe can stop dead from 60 mph within 100 feet, which is a decent figure for any sports car. The brakes have plenty of travel and never let the driver lose control of the car. It doesn't matter if you have to panic stop in the city or jam on the pedal hard just before a hairpin, the discs are well up to par for the job. Even during regenerative braking, there are no slips or jerks you get when you drive any other EV.

The suspension of the 2020 BMW i8 uses Magnetorheological fluid to adjust itself per the driver's needs. It can be stiffened up for more stability around the corners of a racetrack, or loosened for a more comfortable ride of the urban jungle. The steering is electronically assisted and feels smooth for every turn of the wheel. The inside of the cabin is virtually silent, aside from a smooth whim of the engine that is enhanced as the revs climb.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

Brake Front (in.)

13.4

14.5

14.4

14.0

15.0

Brake Rear (in.)

13.0

14.2

14.0

14.4

15.0

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3501

3878

3505

4941

3153

60-0 MPH (ft.)

100

95

96

102

99

Almost all of the competition offers a superior braking performance to the BMW i8, with the exception of the Tesla Model S that has its weight to blame. The Acura NSX stops the quickest because of its bigger brakes on a chassis that sports a shorter wheelbase.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Fuel Economy

8.0/10

The most impressive aspect of the BMW i8 is its fuel economy. Running solely on the electric motor offers this car a range of 22 miles. The gas engine alone has an impressive overall fuel economy of 27 mpg, that surpasses any other gas-guzzler in this segment. The ECO mode allows for the electric motor to augment the engine, offering a combined fuel economy of 69 mpge. With such impressive numbers rated by the EPA for the i8, its 11.1-gallon fuel tank doesn't seem that tiny anymore.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

MPG (City)

N/A

21

14

92

15

MPG (Highway)

N/A

22

25

105

20

MPG (Combined)

27

21

18

98

17

Tank Capacity (gal)

11.1

15.6

21.9

N/A

16.9

The BMW i8 may have enough miles per gallon of fuel but you need not even bother putting gasoline in the Tesla Model S. It is purely electric and can get you further than 300 miles without burning a drop of fuel. The i8 certainly rises above most other cars in this segment, even the Acura NSX, which manages a paltry 21 mpg combined with its twin-turbo V6.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Interior

7.0/10
“The i8's steeply raked front roof pillars, wide doorsills and upward-opening doors make getting in and out cumbersome. At least the seating position is textbook sports car. The coupe's rear seat is tiny and too small for adults.” -Edmunds

Seating and Comfort

The i8 Coupe’s interior looks nothing like a performance car. The cabin is advanced and beautifully sculpted. The front seats are comfortable with a wide range of adjustments. You may find the rear seats quite smaller that are meant for small kids only. The build quality is excellent, as would be expected from a BMW. The panels have impeccable finish and look even more impressive with carbon fiber. The visibility is a bit restricted, especially towards the rear of the car. You may have to rely on the surround-view cameras more often than not.

Getting in and out of the i8 is also a chore. The stylish scissor doors are beautiful to look at but make it difficult for taller passengers to access the cabin. The climate control system works well up to par. It maintains a consistent temperature within the car no matter the outside conditions. The BMW i8 comes with an interior air filtration system that further makes the atmosphere of the cabin easier to get by on long journeys.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

Passenger capacity

4

2

2

5

2

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

38.7/56.7/43.1

38.3/57.7/42.9

38.5/55.1/40.9

38.8/57.7/42.7

N/A

Weight Distribution(F/R)

51/49

-

-

35.3/55.0/35.4

39/61

Infotainment

Over the dash is BMW's familiar 8.8-inch touchscreen iDrive infotainment system. The screen supports pinch-to-zoom gestures, though it is easier to use the console-mounted jog controller to operate the system. The system is easy to get used to and is responsive to commands. The navigation system is a highlight. The i-ConnectedDrive system uses topographical and traffic information to calculate the most optimum route. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay for those looking to gain more out of the voice command system, though Android users are out of luck.

Some of the major infotainment features are as follows:

  • Remote Climate Control
  • Proximity Sensing Keyless Entry
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • 360 Watts Stereo Output
  • Speed-Sensitive Volume Control
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • USB Connection
  • 1 Subwoofer
  • 12 Total Speakers
  • Harman/Kardon Premium Brand Stereo System
  • Surround Audio Surround Audio (Discrete)

Cargo Space

The BMW i8 is deprived of the cargo space due to the exuberant styling. The Convertible trim gets a pass for its need to store an entire roof but the coupe's trunk is usable only after you fold down the rear seats. The trunk lid can be operated remotely but its low opening makes it difficult to load in cargo. The small-item storage is not that impressive either. You get the basics like cupholders, glove box, side pockets, and a compartment in the console. But that's about it.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

Cargo Volume (ft.3)

4.7

4.4

8.0

26.3

4.4

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Exterior

9.0/10
“With styling unlike anything else in the world of exotic-performance cars, the 2020 BMW i8 is as much a fashion statement as it is a thrill ride.” -Kelley Blue Book

Design and Styling

The 2020 BMW i8 looks ultimate futuristic when it comes to design. The design approach is different from any other exotic performance car in the world. The Coupe as well the Roadster models have a similar width and low stance. The front fascia looks magnificent with the unique LED headlights. There’s a V-shaped air vent over the hood, allowing a good amount of air to pass through the engine. The split rear wing is also highly functional. It helps provide enough downforce to the rear of the car to keep it composed at high speeds.

The car's excellent handling is certainly helpful when trying to maneuver it in confined space. Because of its long wheelbase, you may encounter problems when finding a suitable parking spot. Thankfully, an array of advanced sensors will aid you adequately. The car looks even better at night if you go for the laser headlights option.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX Coupe

Audi R8 V10 Coupe

Tesla Model S P 100D

Porsche 911 GT3 Coupe

Curb weight (lbs.)

3501

3878

3505

4941

3153

Length(in)

184.9

176.1

174.3

196.0

179.6

Width(in)

76.5

76.3

76.4

77.3

72.9

Height(in)

50.8

47.8

48.8

56.5

50.0

Ground clearance (in)

4.6

3.8

6.5

4.6

3.7

Wheelbase (in)

110.2

103.5

104.3

116.5

96.7

Track width (in) F/R

64.7/67.8

65.2/63.7

64.5/63.0

65.4/66.9

61.1/61.2

However big the BMW i8 may be, it is still smaller than a full luxury sedan-sized Tesla Model S. The Tesla is bigger and hosts better passenger space, with a trunk that can store something bigger than a backpack. The Acura NSX is the smallest of the lot. It is devoid of any practical aspects of hybrids. Its small size allow the NSX to dominate the corners and have exceptional braking performance.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Safety

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has tested the 2020 BMW i8 Coupe for its crashworthiness. Nevertheless, you can count on the car's carbon-fiber chassis to keep the occupants safe during any crash. BMW also equips the i8 with a Pre-collision system that better prepares the driver and passenger if a crash is imminent. This includes tightening the seatbelts and producing a loud noise to prevent hearing loss. 

That doesn't mean that it is easy to crash this car. The i8 comes equipped with several advanced safety systems and driver aids that make the car sort of semi-autonomous to drive. The systems are state-of-the-art, just the kind you would expect from a performance car of the future. Just don't go expecting something out of 'Knight Rider'.

Safety Features

  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Front And Rear Parking Sensors
  • Emergency Braking Preparation
  • Front Collision Warning
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • Child Seat Anchors
  • Dual Front Side-Mounted Airbags
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Emergency Braking Assist
  • Passenger Airbag Occupant Sensing Deactivation
  • Remote Anti-Theft Alarm System
  • Front And Rear Ventilated Disc Brakes
  • Brake Drying
  • Dusk Sensing Headlamps
  • LED Headlamps
  • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Traction Control
  • Pre-Collision Safety System

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Competition

BMW i8 vs. Audi R8

Both the BMW i8 ad Audi R8 are flagships of their respective German manufacturers. The i8 is a hybrid sports car while the R8 has gradually made its way to the supercar status in a relatively short time. The i8 attracts us with its design and advanced technology while the R8 offers immense power via a V10 engine. Both the cars have a cabin that reeks of the future of automobiles. It is more so on the i8 with its low-slung carbon-fiber interior hosting a bigger infotainment screen. If you're looking for practicality with power, the R8 is the better choice. Those with an affinity for high-tech gizmos would prefer the BMW i8.

BMW i8 vs. Porsche 911 Carrera

The Porsche 911 remains unrivaled in the sports car segment. With its engaging and strong performance, a Porsche 911 GT3 can make anyone head's turn as it roars past in a blitz. It shows all the features that it is a car born of the legendary Nurburgring. Still, the BMW i8 comes close to beating it on its home turf. While the 911 has its handling capabilities perfected through generations, the i8 uses electronic wizardry to make it turn more aggressively. The GT3 can never beat the i8 for its fuel economy but can leave it far behind in the rearview if it ever comes to a race between the two.

BMW i8 vs. Acura NSX

Both the BMW i8 and the Acura NSX are gas/electric hybrids. Where the BMW offers some semblance of practicality, there is nothing practical about the Acura NSX. Unlike the i8, it doesn't just look like a supercar, it runs like one too. It has a 3.5L V6 gas engine that would be powerful enough in itself. But the NSX ups the ante by adding to the power with a couple of electric motors. While the Beemer can use its battery power for going some distance, the NSX uses its electric parts like the Kinetic Energy Recovery System you would find on most Formula One race cars. For pure performance enthusiasts, the NSX is a great choice. Those looking for something more out of their performance car, the i8 is the sensible pick.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Final Verdict

The new BMW i8 has certainly improved with the course of time. Year after year, BMW has been adding standard features to the beautiful Coupe. The i8 offers an efficient engine along with a head-turning exterior design. The handling ethics of the car are also non-comparable. It feels good for both city commutes and highway rides. If you are looking for a well-designed car then there could be no other option against the BMW i8.

FAQs

Where is the BMW i8 manufactured?

Every BMW i8 is manufactured at the BMW Group Plant at Leipzig, Germany.

How fast is the BMW i8?

The BMW i8 Coupe can reach 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and do a quarter-mile run in 12.2 seconds. On a straight road, it can achieve a top speed of 155 mph.

Is the BMW i8 fully electric?

No. The BMW i8 runs on a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that employs the use of an electric motor for driving the front wheels and a 1.5L turbocharged inline-3 engine for the rear wheels.

Does the BMW i8 charge itself?

Yes. Once ECO mode is activated, the gas engine kicks in and charges the battery by giving up a portion of its power to the dynamo. The batteries also receive a charge through regenerative braking.

Is the BMW i8 reliable?

Yes. Although there is no official rating by JD Power, there have been no complaints or recalls for the i8. Its build quality is a reflection of BMW's world-class standard. It is highly unlikely that one would suffer from a breakdown anytime soon.