Review: 2016 BMW i8
– Cleveland, Ohio
Back to the Future II gave us a sneak peek at how far cars would come in thirty years, and I can't tell you how disappointed I am that reality hasn't lived up to the imagination of Robert Zemeckis. Cars still can't hover, and none today look as cool as the ones in the movie did when I first saw it back in 1989. Except the 2016 BMW i8. Its design would make Biff Tannen’s grandson do a double-take, and while it can't hover, the i8’s sophisticated plug-in hybrid powertrain that gives gasoline and electrons their own axles to power is impressive enough to earn it free parking on Hill Valley’s town square.
- The i8 is a BMW, which endows it with the brand’s impressive trait of offering a wide range of driving personalities in one car. In Comfort mode, the i8 rides smoothly, runs quietly, and feels just like a luxury coupe. In Eco Pro, it’s Prius-like in its stinginess (I saw fuel economy in the 40+ mpg range after its 13-mile-or-so electric range was depleted). And in Sport mode when the tiny, turbocharged three-cylinder engine is always on, everything gets tighter, faster, and louder. Just not enough to be called a supercar. Plus, driving in Sport mode works to recharge the battery, so even in its most dynamic setting, an ulterior motive of efficiency is still present.
- Supercar credentials or no, I had so much fun driving the i8 in Sport mode. It’s athletic enough to be great fun on public roads without breaking the law (too much), and certain qualities ...