2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid

MSRP $147,500

Ranked #9 in Midsize Coupe

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: September 27, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2020 BMW i8 is one of the fun ways to save the environment without the dead drive feeling. It is quite obvious that you will not get the same level of performance as a conventional gasoline-powered BMW or a complete EV. Still, it is better than most of the plug-in-hybrids available out there in the market. The one obvious advantage of a hybrid model is also there in the form of impressive fuel economy figures. 

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Pros

Good combination of gas and electric power

Funky and unique looking design

Modern infotainment system

Good daily commuter

Cons

Lacks performance when compared to the rivals

Offers less range than competitors

Interior materials are too plasticky

What's New?

No major changes for the 2020 model year


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$147500

bodystyle

2dr Coupe

passenger capacity

4

drivetrain

all wheel drive

engine type

displacement

91 cu.in.

horsepower

228 hp @ 5800 rpm

torque

236 lb.-ft. @ 3700 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front double wishbone suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

13.4/12.2 in.

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

81 cu ft.

cargo volume

5.4 cu ft.

towing capacity

6000 lbs.

payload capacity

712 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

4.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

12.4 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50,000 mi.

powertrain warranty

4 yr./ 50,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

9 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$147,500 onwards

Colors and Styles

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Crystal White Pearl Metallic color
Crystal White Pearl 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

Pricing and Feature

9.0

Features

8.0

Engine and Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

9.0

Safety

7.0

Competition

6.0

7.6

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.6

Overall Rating


The BMW has launched a complete I series lineup just for the hybrid and electric models. The BMW i8 is a good option for people who do not want to cause harm to the environment and want the BMW badge. However, the BMW i8 has not been a hit in the market as it lacks the driving fun that is pretty much expected from a Bimmer. The 2020 model year is going to be the last year for the BMW i8. The 2020 BMW i8 competes against the likes of the Acura NSX, Lexus LC 500h, and the Polestar 1.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid Coupe front angle view
2020 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid Coupe rear angle view

8.0/10
Features

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

9.0/10
Exterior

7.0/10
Safety

6.0/10
Competition


2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Features

8.0/10

There are two body styles to choose from either the standard i8 Coupe or the i8 Roadster, but there are no trim options or customization options available as such with the 2020 BMW i8. The only standard trim is priced at $147,500 making it an exclusive car, and for the features it offers and the segment it is placed in, there are much better and valuable options available. However, BMW also didn’t give up; they not only gave up the best looks but also the most advanced tech and features, at least everything they could fit in the car.

Trim

i8 Coupe

MSRP (AWD)

$147,500

Key Features

20-inch BMW light alloy, bi-color wheels

 

The rear storage compartment cover

 

3-stage heated front seats

 

Advanced real-time traffic information

 

Carbon fiber interior trim

 

Spoiler mounted solar panel

 

Adaptive shock absorber

Which trim should you buy?

There is no option to choose from, the reason being there is no need to. The standard car in itself is pretty well equipped in terms of performance, comfort, and entertainment sections altogether. Still, there is a need to increase the set of safety features as for the price the number of driver aids you get seems quite less.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The engine of the 2020 BMW i8 is not as exciting as you expect from a Bimmer. It comes with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, which is not up there with the best. But this is not the total power output, the gas engine is combined with an electric motor which is powered by an 11.6 kWh battery pack. The combination of these two gives the i8 a total power output of 369-horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Even the combined power figures are not among the best in the segment, but it is not that bad either. 

The powertrain is well refined and the engine comes with a two-speed auto for the electric motor and a six-speed automatic for the gas engine, and while one would think two gearboxes would not offer the best feel, it is not true at all as each gear shift is smooth and gives the car a smooth and problem-free drive. The gas engine sends power to the rear wheels, while the electric motor sends power to the front wheels which makes the car an AWD model. If you solely use the electric motor the car would take about 9 seconds to reach a speed of 60 mph, but when they are not helping the environment and are up for some serious driving the combined power will catapult the i8 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.

Models

2020 BMW i8

2020 Acura NSX

2020 Lexus LC500h

2020 Polestar 1

MSRP

$147,500

$159,495

$97,460

$156,500

Engine

1.5-liter Inline-3 Turbo Gas/Electric

3.5-liter Twin-turbo V6 with 3-electric motors

3.5-liter Premium V6 with two electric motors

2.0-liter twin-turbocharged and supercharged Inline-4 with 3 electric motors

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

RWD

AWD

Transmission

9-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power

369 hp @ 5,800 RPM

573 hp @ 6,500 RPM

354 hp @ 6,600 RPM

619 hp @ 6,200 RPM

Torque

420 lb-ft @ 3,700 RPM

476 lb-ft @ 2,000 RPM

369 lb-ft @ 4,800 RPM

738 lb-ft @ 4,200 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

4.2

2.7

4.8

3.8

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

12.4

11.2

14

12.7

Top-Speed (MPH)

155

191

168

155

Polestar has the highest power and torque figures but Acura is the fastest to 60 mph and also to cover a quarter-mile, having the highest top speed of 191 mph. BMW performs better than the Lexus when it comes to 0-60 time and quarter-mile time, but has a less top speed, the clean winner then remains the more modern Acura. The Polestar follows the Acura in terms of acceleration figures. 

How well does the 2020 BMW i8 handle?

The one certain expectation from a BMW hybrid over the other hybrid models would be the handling of the car. Bimmers are known for sporty handling and great performance with their models. Fortunately, they have not forgotten the BMW DNA for the i8. The handling of the i8 remains one of the key highlights that set it apart from other rivals out there. The steering feedback is so good that it inspires great confidence around the corners. You can easily carry some good speeds around the corners without much nervousness. 

In the city it will not disappoint unlike other sports cars, it comes with the most comfortable ride and the small coupe design helps it to dart around town easily. Even on long road trips, the car remains comfortable and the road noise inside the cabin is also regulated quite well. The combination between sporty handling and comfortable ride is managed very well by the engineers at BMW. The suspension does a pretty good job of absorbing the bumps and makes the ride comfortable.

2020 BMW i8 PHEV Braking Performance

BMW equips the i8 with 13.4-inch ventilated discs at the front and 13-inches at the rear, along with the brakes, they also use sophisticated tech and driver aids that help to control the car under panic braking situations to keep the car stable. The feedback from the pedals just like the steering and acceleration is pretty good, and the brakes work well to bring the car to a dead stop from 60 mph in just 100 feet. Another factor for such controlled braking and less stopping distance is due to the lightweight body and aid from advanced tech.

Models

2020 BMW i8

2020 Acura NSX

2020 Lexus LC500h

2020 Polestar 1

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

13.4

14.5

13.3

15.7

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

13

14.2

12.1

15.3

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,501

3,878

4,435

5,170

60-0 (feet)

100

103

112

108

While Polestar has the biggest brakes, the heavyweight of the car does not help the braking distance. The Acura NSX goes ahead of the Polestar in terms of braking distance. While BMW has the smallest brakes, the use of lightweight materials to make the body makes it the lightest car, and thus it has the least stopping distance.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Fuel Economy

9.0/10

How many sports cars have their best asset is high fuel economy. Well, as of now the i8 seems to be the only one as there are not many hybrid sports cars for 2020. However, from next year, the number is going to increase considerably as many manufacturers are turning over to less polluting and environmentally friendly alternatives. When you use both the engine, the car offers a combined range of 69 MPGe. The efficiency is quite good considering the performance of the car.

When using the gas engine only it gives a combined range of 27 mpg and backed up by the 11.1-gallon fuel tank it allows for a total range of 300 miles which has an extra 17 miles added to it with the help of the electric motor. The battery pack takes about 3 hours to charge fully from 0 at a regular charging station.

Models

2020 BMW i8

2020 Acura NSX

2020 Lexus LC500h

2020 Polestar 1

MPGe (City)

N/A

21

26

N/A

MPGe (Highway)

N/A

22

25

N/A

MPGe (Combined)

27

21

30

26

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

11.1

15.6

22.2

13.2

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

N/A/N/A/300

328/343/327

599/777/666

N/A/N/A/343

Lexus is a clear winner when it comes to fuel economy as not only does it have the best MPG figures on offer but a bigger fuel tank than the rest also allows for the best range. All the cars in the segment are pretty good at fuel efficiency as there is no point in making a hybrid car that does not deliver great fuel efficiency figures. The range remains the least for the BMW i8 in the segment.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Interior

9.0/10

When you step inside the 2020 BMW i8, you will notice that the aggressive design language of the exterior turns into a simple and subtle design in the interior department. The cabin has a good design language and while it is a driver-focused cabin, it looks stunning and is not like the interior we are used to seeing in other BMWs. The interior of the i8 comes with carbon fiber trims, distinctive blue accents, and perforated leather seats and also has a well-arranged center stack, traditional gauges are replaced with digital instrument clusters, but among all the premium feeling and good looking features, there are a lot of parts and trims which feel cheap for the price.

Officially the BMW can seat up to four people, but in reality, the rear seats are not even comfortable enough for adults for a short road trip. The rear seats remain better suited for children as the legroom and headroom are extremely restricted. The front seats are comfortable for even people over six feet, and they are also cushioned enough to provide comfort on long drives. While the not-so-traditional scissor doors look good, they are pretty unconventional as they make getting in and out of the car quite difficult. Although the seats provide a good driving position and good front visibility, the thick A-pillars and small rear window hamper overall visibility from inside the car.

Models

2020 BMW i8

2020 Acura NSX

2020 Lexus LC500h

2020 Polestar 1

Seating Capacity

4

2

4

4

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.7/56.7/43.1

38.3/57.7/42.9

37.2/56.5/42

38/56.3/42

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

32.4/46.9/28.2

N/A

32.2/49/32.5

33.3/49.7/20.9

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

4.7

4.4

4.7

4.4

The BMW offers better space upfront than the rest, and also has a big trunk. The best front and rear proportions are offered in the Lexus along with a trunk as big as the one present in the i8 which indicates that the LC500h makes better use of the available space. The NSX plays safe by providing space for just two occupants, so there is no criticism about the rear seats. Some exclusive interior highlights include:

  • Heated seats
  • Digital gauge cluster
  • Carbon fiber interior trims
  • 6-way power-adjustable front driver seat
  • Automatic climate control
  • Start/stop button
  • Auto-dimming interior rearview mirror
  • Tilt/telescopic steering column

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The infotainment unit is an 8.8-inch screen just like the gauge cluster. However, this screen displays all the infotainment functions and also offers navigation with the help of 3D maps. The i8 misses out on BMW’s iDrive system but still comes with a lot of features integrated. The head unit is paired with a premium 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a 360-watt amplifier. 

While Android Auto is absent, Apple CarPlay is there for seamless smartphone connectivity for iPhone users. It is easy to get used to the touch-pad controller, which is used to control the infotainment system's functions. As standard, you also get up to 20GB of free storage for music. Few other feature highlights of the car include:

  • Apple CarPlay smartphone integration
  • 11-speaker Harman Kardon Sound system
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Voice Control
  • USB audio ports
  • SiriusXM Satellite radio
  • Online navigation map update

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Exterior

9.0/10

Launched almost five years ago, it still looks fresh and will look fresh for a long time to come. BMW gave attention to the design and the curvy lines, sharp edges and aerodynamic design language give it a futuristic and appealing look. The 2020 BMW i8 looks more like an aircraft than a conventional car. Since hybrids are an idea of the future, BMW decided to make the design look futuristic too. 

Even though it has been six years of the same design in the i8, it still looks fresh and new and will keep looking like that even in the future. The LED lights with daytime running LEDs help to give the car good looks, with better visibility, the limited Ultimate Sophisto edition comes with unique door sills, and 20-inch alloy wheels with E-copper paint and black brake calipers.

Models

2020 BMW i8

2020 Acura NSX

2020 Lexus LC500h

2020 Polestar 1

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,501

3,878

4,435

5,170

Length (inches)

184.9

176.1

187.4

180.5

Width (inches)

76.5

87.3

75.6

77.1

Height (inches)

50.8

47.8

53

53.2

Ground Clearance (inches)

4.6

3.7

5.2

5.6

Wheelbase (inches)

110.2

103.5

113

107.9

Polestar has the highest ground clearance, making it a better choice to drive over rough roads as it can easily get over high bumps and slopes. The BMW i8 is the longest car in its segment and also comes with the longest wheelbase. The use of carbon fiber and mixed alloys to make the bodywork of the BMW can be seen when the weights are compared as it is the lightest of the lot. Few other distinct highlights of the i8 include:

  • Power-folding heated side mirrors
  • Two-tone paint
  • Butterfly doors
  • Thermoplastic fenders and bumpers
  • BMW iU shaped LED headlights
  • Colored rear bumper insert
  • Black-grille with metal surround look

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Safety

7.0/10

Just like other expensive sports cars, the i8 has been excluded from the safety tests that IIHS and NHTSA perform on the cars. But this does not mean that the i8 is not safe, in fact, the carbon-fiber bodywork provides reassurance of safety. The structure in itself is well made and designed to provide excellent safety in case of any uncertain event.

Just like other cars of the day, the 2020 BMW i8 also comes with standard and advanced safety features, starting with the most important feature in terms of safety that is airbags, and the i8 has eight of them, including a knee airbag. Other standard safety features are tire pressure monitoring system, traction control, ABS, stability control. The safety features include:

  • Traction control
  • Stability control
  • Emergency braking preparation
  • Pre-collision safety system
  • Post-collision safety system
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • Emergency braking assist

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Competition

6.0/10

2020 BMW i8 vs 2020 Acura NSX

The Acura NSX is for sure more expensive than the two cars. The performance of the Acura NSX is just unbeatable for the segment. The Acura performs pretty well in almost every regard. The BMW has a less powerful engine in comparison. However, the performance on the i8 is not bad either. It also offers a more futuristic exterior design and better handling between the two.

2020 BMW i8 vs 2020 Polestar 1

While Polestar is a new brand, its car is not in any way designed or built by amateurs. The Polestar 1 offers better performance than the BMW, has better power, and slightly better overall range than the BMW. But BMW is a more established brand and offers better driving dynamics. The Bimmer is also cheaper between the two. If you are not ready to take a risk with a new brand, the BMW i8 is a better option here for less money. 

2020 BMW i8 vs 2020 Lexus LC 500h

The Lexus LC500h is a hybrid version of the regular LC500. It uses a V6 and a combination of two motors, the driving characteristics do not change much, and the comfortable and handsome-looking interior along with a reasonable price tag makes it a good choice for EV buyers looking for better comfort and range. But if you want driving fun, the BMW i8 is obviously a better choice between the two.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Final Verdict

The future is already here, this can be seen perfectly in the 2020 BMW i8 with the use of hybrid tech to provide excellent performance figures along with exceptional mpg figures. The comfortable and simple-looking interior and the futuristic exterior design make it a great choice. However, the best part about it is the crazy performance that is matched by equally exciting driving dynamics. You can buy the BMW i8 if you want a car that packs good performance and can be a daily commuter without ripping your pockets.

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