Launched almost exactly a month ago, the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar is surely one of the quickest ways to get the attention of every living individual within a 15-feet visual radius. From its sci-fi looks, replete with blue Tron-like highlights around, to its butterfly doors, the second BMW i model is no shrinking violet.
Let your gaze trail back and one is sure to notice the 20-inch stylised alloy wheels, wrapped in run-flat 215/45 and 245/40 tyres, front to rear, respectively. Elsewhere, various drag-reducing styling cues make the i8 appear as if certain parts of the car have yet to be completed. No matter, it still looks the part.
Beneath the fancy bodywork, a TwinPower Turbo 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine is featured – said mill pumps out a total of 231 hp and 320 Nm of torque. On any other regular car, the buck stops when we say that power gets sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission – not in the case of the BMW i8.
Augmenting the petrol mill is an electric motor that displaces 131 hp and 250 Nm of torque – effectively making the i8 an AWD car, power gets sent to the front axle. All in all, the BMW i8 is equipped with 362 hp at 5,800 rpm and 570 Nm of torque from 1,200 to 5,000 rpm, enough for a century sprint time of 4.4 seconds and a top whack of 250 km/h. Fuel consumption is rated at 47.6 km/l, CO2 emissions at 49 g/km.
On pure electric power alone, the BMW i8 is capable of traversing a distance of 35 km at a top speed of 120 km/h – full operational range is rated at roughly 500 km. Charging the i8 takes more or less three hours with a domestic power socket – that figure is reduced to two hours with the BMW i Wallbox.
Swing the doors up and away will reveal an interior swathed in ‘Spheric’ leather with contrasting BMW i Blue seat belts for all four seats – the i8 features 2+2 seating layout. Taking centre stage is a 10.25-inch HD screen featuring BMW’s Navigation system Professional with iDrive Touch Controller. A Driving Experience Control feature allows drivers to switch between several driving modes – Eco Pro being one of the five.
On the other hand, performance-minded neanderthals (like this writer) are more likely to be interested in the F80 BMW M3 Sedan. Launched in Malaysia way back in June 2014, the fabled nameplate has now been confined to the four-doored body after Munich decided to christen the two-door variant the BMW M4.
Looks wise, the M3 Sedan will either appear shouty to the introverted or subtle to eyes more tuned to the shapes of exotic supercars. Whichever way you cut it, the bold, twin-bar kidney grille and ballooned wheel arches certainly help to pile on the visual muscle. Quad tailpipes and 19-inch wheels that hide drilled discs further serve to amp up the stakes.
The BMW M3 Sedan is powered by a turbocharged S55 3.0 litre inline-six mill which puts out 431 hp at 7,000 rpm and 550 Nm of torque from 1,800-5,390 rpm. Paired to a seven-speed M DCT gearbox, the sedan rockets from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. Keep the throttle pinned and you’ll hit an electronic wall at 250 km/h.
Prices for the BMW i8 begin at RM1,188,800 OTR sans insurance. Said price tag also includes the aforementioned i Wallbox without installation charges. Additional units will cost owners, give or take, an extra RM10k. The F80 BMW M3 goes for RM730,800 OTR without insurance. Both prices quoted are post-GST.
GALLERY: BMW i8
GALLERY: F80 BMW M3 Sedan