Home > Lists > 2015 >

Delightful (and devilish) dozen: what to drive when styling and performance are paramount

pic 8

2015 BMW i8

Base price $135,700

For futuristic looks and exhilarating performance without the need for a gas-guzzling V-6 or V-8 engine; look no further than the BMW i8. If any car is going to turn us on to electric mobility, it’s likely to be this one. The i8 is a truly revolutionary sports car that features an electric motor to power the front wheels and a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-liter gasoline engine that powers the rear wheels. This means it is capable of running on electricity only for a silent and immensely economical drive, as a sporty but more conventional hybrid, or with both powertrains working together to deliver maximum performance. The front-mounted electric motor is rated at 131-horsepower with 184 pound-feet of torque that gives the BMW a top speed of 75 mph in electric-only mode. The gasoline engine that runs through a six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 231-horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. In “Max Emode,” the i8 has an electric-only range of 22 miles, whereas “Comfort Mode” engages both powertrains for maximum efficiency and delivers a range of 310 miles. The total power rating with both powertrains operating fully is 362-horsepower, which means 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds and a 135 mph top speed. The i8 is billed as a 2+2, but the rear seats are only big enough for shopping bags if we’re completely honest.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]