September 05, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Credits by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2019 BMW i8 Coupé

The Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Standard Extended

The BMW i8 coupé has matured very well since we last extensively tested one back in 2015. It is as visually stunning now as it was back then. All of my favorite standout features have been retained or improved like the dihedral scissor doors, the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell Life Module, smart all-wheel-drive, the Dynamic Damper control, Head-Up display, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution, incredibly efficient yet exciting drivetrain, and the comfortable cabin which makes me feel like I am driving from the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek!

This time around our revisit to the i8 concentrates on the new updates for 2019. Unfortunately, the only other optional item, the laser headlights, were not installed in our test unit. Thankfully we were able to experience them in the all-new M850i and the system is truly magnificent! Our test unit came in the more aggressive E-Copper with Frozen Grey accent color for the exterior and for the interior it had the optional ($3,700.00) Tera World Copper package that features Ceramic Controls, BMW i Blue seatbelt straps, Carbon fiber trim, and Tera Copper (Leather and Cloth accent) upholstery.

The extra 46 pounds of goodness added is completely offset by the stronger lithium-ion battery pack from 7.1 kWh to 11.6 kWh combined with a recalibrated ECU that produces the same peak power from the turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder mid-engine but it is a touch livelier. The Coupé is 170 pounds lighter than the new soft-top i8 roadster (which also loses the two rear seats, however limiting that they were, to accommodate the power-folding fabric roof) with a larger 133-liters (4.7 cu ft) trunk compared to 65-liters (2.3 cu ft).

Losing the top for another $16,000.00 just does not appeal to me as I prefer the fabulous winged doors, the better design lines, the more rigid chassis, and the quieter cabin to enjoy the 280-watt 11-speaker Harman Kardon® Premium infotainment system managed by the new iDrive 6.0 on the 8.8-inch touchscreen. The new i8 also has more wheel design options now, our unit used the Light Alloy Radial-spoke Jet black style 516 wheels wrapped with 215/45R20 95W front and 245/40R20 99W rear mixed Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires. The new Ambient Lighting with LED lights package is color-configurable with contour illumination of the fresh-air grille and door armrests together with the center console and footwells. The front bumper is slightly different while the other improvements are too subtle to point out. The most obvious change though is the new air shutter on the front hood.

On pure eDRIVE mode, pure electric propulsion can still achieve 120 km/h and the i8 gained another 5-kilometers of range. Sure, the extra 12 horsepower and single figure increase in range may look inconsequential given the cost but the overall driving experience just feels better, enhanced further by the retuned adaptive suspension. The extra 10th of a second quicker acceleration reinforces that sensation. In the Sport mode, the i8 will still expertly cue-in a pronounced synthetic growl which honestly does not bother me at all, I even like it. The BMW engineers did such a good job with the progressive and reactive sounds that most non-car enthusiasts may genuinely not know the difference. The electrically assisted overachieving engine is mated to a six-speed Aisin automatic, while the front motor operates through its own two-speed automatic.

The BMW i8 continuous to be one of my favorite cars of all time as it melds the alchemy of the best of the past, present, and the near future in an explorable and enjoyable sports car that rewards both driver and passenger with a unique driving experience.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3, 1499 cc, dohc 12V, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, Bi-VANOS, Valvetronic, AC Synchronous Electric Motor with integrated power electronics, 11.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 2-speed AT front / 6-Speed AT mid
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 369 bhp @ 5800-6000 rpm total full power (141 bhp Electric @ 0-4300 rpm + 228 bhp @ 5800 rpm Gas)
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 420 lb-ft @ 3700 rpm total full power (184 lb ft Electric @ 0-4100 rpm + 236 lb ft @3700 rpm Gas)

Performance

Top Speed 250 km/h (155 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 4.2 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 69 MPGe, 27 mpg real-world

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 152,195.00
What's Great Still my favorite hybrid AWD supercar now with more power and range, stand-out, great to drive.
What's Not So Rear seats literally only for children less than 6-years old, what if the 2.0-liter MINI turbo engine was used instead?
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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