New BMW i8 - Will this be the Model S killer?

New BMW i8 - Will this be the Model S killer?

cgiGuy | August 16, 2013

It's a hybrid. So... no.

"In electric-only mode, BMW projects a range of about 22 miles per charge..."

sunkat | August 16, 2013

Great that the major automakers are doing this. It makes one realize how hard it is to do what Tesla has done...props to Elon.

Mathew98 | August 16, 2013

Gee, another hybrid that cost more than $125k. Hmmm, how is it any different from a Fisker?

What competition? It's just another weekend toy. The only thing it will kill is your wallet.

A fully loaded P85+ would be in the same price range and still out run it any day. Would you get functional daily driving 7 seater or a 2 seater weekend toy?

Car-El | August 16, 2013

Simpel anser: NO!


Carefree | August 16, 2013

I'd never buy it but I would not be so fast dismissing it altogether.

As we know there are many folks who want all the premium features in an above 100K vehicle and really don't care if it is all electric or hybrid. I'm pretty sure the i8 will be quick off the line - it is a BMW after all. Will it beat the Model S - probably not but this could become an alternative for many.

Almost 100mpg and still a sporty look - it'll make people feel better about owning a luxury sedan even though it is not 100% electric.

Cindy I II III | August 16, 2013

Glad that it looks good for a change. It's quite different from Tesla, so will appeal to different people. For those who need approval from the masses, BMW is a more widely valued name today. Plus, there truly are people who like the sound of an ICE engine. To me, it's a little schizophrenic.

Curious what the price will be. So far, it's hard to make hybrid in price par to ICE for the same performance, while full electric has the potential or to certain extend achieved par or cheaper price in case of Tesla.

PaceyWhitter | August 16, 2013

It is a small light coupe, so it is not really trying to compete with the MS. At least this one finally has good performance, and because of it's size, it's eMPG is on par with the MS, which is a feat for a good performing hybrid. Would definitly compete with the gen III, depending on price.

mrspaghetti | August 16, 2013

Hybrid technology has had its day. There's no longer any reason to buy one now that Elon has proven there's a better way.

PaceyWhitter | August 16, 2013

Handling might be weird as well, "The 3-cylinder gas engine will power the rear wheels while the electric motor will be linked to the front axle."

So it would be a FWD car in all electric mode, and an AWD car in hybrid mode. I'm sure BMW will make it work, but it seems like it would feel much different.

cgiGuy | August 16, 2013

Random sighting and walkaround footage at a... gas station.

Note the solid colored roof. Looks like a good place for a "pano."

PBEndo | August 16, 2013

@Carefree BMW has stated a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds - that is fast, but still slower than an MS off the line.

It may be attractive for Autobahn driving in Germany, since the MS tops out at 132mph and the I-8 will go to 155mph.

But it really is a very different car. Only 2 functional seats, very little storage space, and the increased complexity that comes with a hybrid powertrain.

It will sell, especially with the BMW name behind it. Some customers will need the range that a hybrid offers. But many more people would be better off with the MS.

KOL2000 | August 16, 2013

Ummm. Lets see. I can blow it away off the line with 7 people and my costco groceries using zero gas and it's made in America.... Difficult decision.

jbunn | August 16, 2013

It's not a Model S killer, but it is however a Fisker killer. I expect this car to sell at least as well as the Fisker.

As many people pointed out above, it's got nothing much in common with the S. Well, they both have 4 tires.

carlk | August 16, 2013

The only thing I like it overn the MS is the i8 is more the size I want.

cgiGuy | August 16, 2013

Didn't Fisker kill itself?

stealth_mode | August 16, 2013

oh jeahh ... and now you even need a wider and taller garage.. well with this price tag (will be way over 130EUR) shouldn't be a major problem...
otherwise i kinda like the looks (at least better than i3) but still like the MS x1000 for the sleek-clean lines- beside the tech shortcomings -
NO... definitely NOT al S-Killer

stealth_mode | August 16, 2013

..and its soo not stealthy...

AmpedRealtor | August 16, 2013


Brian H | August 16, 2013

In the vid, note the shark fin antenna on the pano roof, and the glimpses of the tiny screen - 7"?

Wonder how well the 2-speed gearbox will hold up. Since half the power comes from an ICE, which has lower torque, it's probably workable. That probably accounts for the higher top end. | August 16, 2013


San Diego Tesla | August 16, 2013

It has almost the same specs (range, performance, etc) as the new panamera plug-in, which sells for $100K. I can't imagine how the i8 could compete with either the Model S (or the Panamera plug-in, if you are in the market for a high-end hybrid). | August 16, 2013

It would be a mistake to under-estimate the competition. While I don't think this is an MS killer (too expensive and too complicated), the question is how many iterations will it take BMW to get there.

To me, the most interesting thing about the car is the heavy use of carbon fiber and the weight savings it provides--apparently 50% over steel and 30% over aluminum--the i8 weighs in at ~3,300 pounds. Much as the Tesla battery technology is a long-term competitive advantage for them, I think BMW's CF chassis technology is going to pay off in the long term for them.

I would also guess some potential P85 buyers will end up in the i8 camp - its green, its fast, it looks exotic, it has a snazzy interior, it has no range anxiety and the the BMW cachet will help bridge the price difference. Unlikely enough defectors to prove fatal to Tesla, but probably enough to force them to up their game (yay for competition)


PS I forgot to mention, it probably also has parking sensors :)

Mark K | August 16, 2013

It's going to be pretty and will handle great, with the lightweight CFRP chassis.

But the hybrid power train is last gen tech. Another technology half-step, that's an expensive exotic.

Progress, but definitely trying to dissuade buyers from pure electric.

gooshjkc | August 16, 2013

First of all it's a Bemer. Meaning it got to suck. Second, it's not a true electric car. Third, I wish people will stop using "killer this" or "killer that". There are only two companies that will be able compete with Tesla in the future and that will be Mercedes (mainly because they have a bunch load of money and they know the workings of Tesla) and Porsche (they only have hybrids now, but they're moving very quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if they came up with something in an year or two).

xradr | August 16, 2013

I suspect it will have minimal impact on tesla.

1. 2 seater is different market segment vs. 5 + 2 (MS) or 7 (MX).
2. hybrid with low range vs. full EV with decent range.
3. Unlikely to compete with Gen III on price (120K vs. 40K)

The only thing it might compete on is looks (stress MIGHT). It's a sharp looking car, but not enough to make me even consider it. it seems the main competition would would be vs. used roadster.

ModelNick | August 16, 2013

As everyone is aware, one of the biggest problems with electric cars is the range. Tesla is solving the problem with Supercharger stations, while other car companies don't have a solution for this. To work around the problem (not a solution in my mind), they use a gas engine to extend range.

I would like to see other car manufactures team up with Telsa to produce more Supercharing stations that can be used by a wide variety of car brands. It would spark (pun intended) more competition in the electric vehicle market and accelerate the technology. Everyone wins!

Vevans2 | August 16, 2013

The car gets 22 miles of electric range oh man

wolfpet | August 16, 2013

I'd consider it if it had Tesla battery and power train.

AndrewM | August 16, 2013

It's disappointing to see that BMW doesn't trust 100% electric power enough to put it in all the i-series cars... or maybe they are just struggling to make the engineering work. Also I fail to see how a 130k Euro car with a 1.5 litre engine and a tiny battery pack will appeal to anyone other than those who absolutely must have a BMW.

It'll be a shame if BMW's failure to sell many i-series cars puts other manufacturers off building hybrids and EVs. I'm no automotive industry expert, but I'm really surprised that Tesla is still the only company building EVs with more than a 100 mile range. Where are all the other Elon's??

Hodas | August 16, 2013

It seems more relevant to compare it to the Roadster than to the Model S. Of course it loses in every respect in that comparison too except top speed...

HenryT2 | August 16, 2013

It's a pretty car and has some pluses (range, top speed, and probably interior). It's got lots of minuses too. But all in all, a decent alternative to Tesla though not direct competition.

Good for BMW. Certainly a lot better car than the i3. And I think muscles into Model S territory just enough to give Tesla incentive to keep improving.

Bob W | August 16, 2013

The i8 has a higher top speed and probably more range (for non-stop driving). It should handle very well on twisty roads. It may eventually outsell the Model S in Germany, but I'm not sure about elsewhere, especially if free SuperCharging goes International.

The Model S is much simpler, much quieter, has way more storage space, has four doors, a much better display, more total horsepower (in P85), and room for five adult passengers + 2 kids. The Model S is probably safer, and it definitely has lower emissions.

In the Model S, long distance travel can be mostly free (thanks to SuperCharging), you don't have to change the oil, oil filter, spark plugs, etc., and you don't have to get a smog certificate or have another passenger in the car before you can use the commute lane (in some states).

Maybe best of all, you never have talk to a Dealership's "closer" to buy one.

Given equal retail price (i8 will probably cost more), I think the Model S wins hands down, for 80% - 90% of the U.S. market.

Getting Amped Again | August 16, 2013

"In electric-only mode, BMW projects a range of about 22 miles per charge – a bit closer to the Toyota Prius Plug-in than the Chevrolet Volt – and a top speed of 75 mph."

On a southern California highway, doesn't 75 mph get you nasty looks and people flashing their headlights behind you?

dirk.saenen | August 16, 2013

I would never buy it, not even at 50K.

IMHO it's ugly. No EV either.

On the positive side : extra pub for the one and only S.

yobigd20 | August 16, 2013

22 miles range? are you kidding me? that's like a volt just 4x the price for included BMW sticker. and that isn't even enough range to get me to the gas station to fill up the tank for the other ICE engine. what a joke. I guess nobody else is up for the challenge to make a competitive product to a Tesla.

Brian H | August 17, 2013

How many does it seat? 4?
Looks like a central hump for the batteries.

Litennn | August 17, 2013

nick; Silex is pure vapor, they don't even have anything with wheels yet.

RedShift | August 17, 2013

Silex will have to use Tesla drivetrain to have a hope of existing in 2015.

djm12 | August 17, 2013

I love the looks of the i8, but can't deal with a hybrid. I'd like to see the i8 as a 100% EV.

The i8 may get a few sales - but at that price point, it'll barely move the needle on Model S demand. | August 17, 2013

The i8 chassis on a Tesla drivetrain (especially AWD) would be a BEAST.


carlk | August 17, 2013

@omarsultan Right that or even better a Roadster II. MS is a perfect car to me except the size. Don't know why Tesla has to make it so big. | August 17, 2013

I actually think the i8 vs MS conversation points to one of Elon's/Tesla's secret weapons--well not that "secret" but one that does not seem to get much attention.

It seems that Tesla has a predilection to the simple approach--using plain old aluminum instead of the exotic Aluminum + CF and AC induction instead of DC motors with rare earth magnets as a couple of examples.

I think ICE manufacturers are so steeped in complexity, they cannot help themselves--that is their knee-jerk response--i8 drivetrain being a prime example. They see elegance in complexity, whereas Tesla sees elegance in simplicity.

The engineer in me appreciates the KISS approach and I think it will give them manufacturing and cost advantages in the long run.

I have not read up much on Space X, but I wonder if the same philosophy holds true there as well (guess I'll do some reading up).


David Dennis | August 17, 2013

Somewhere - I don't remember where - I read the i8 has about a 7-8 second 0-60 time in all electric mode. It takes the ICE to pull down the 0-60 time. This Car & Driver test is partial confirmation of my memory - it notes that the acceleration in all-electric mode is roughly equivalent to a Chevy Volt, which I don't think many will find acceptable for a $125,000 car.

In short, it's more expensive than the Model S and not in any competitive with its performance.

It really is amazing that even years after Elon Musk showed the world how to produce a successful electric car, nobody listened. He has actually encouraged other automakers to copy him, and they can't or don't want to!

I'll bet he'll have about the same amount of success with the incredibly stupid high-speed rail establishment, too ... I fully expect Elon Musk to construct Hyperloop, if anyone does ...


David Dennis | August 17, 2013

Omar Sultan, if you haven't done so already, be sure to read his Hyperloop paper.

I love the argument he presents at the beginning. There is no question in my mind that high speed rail is about the stupidest thing any government has ever proposed. It's more expensive then flying, not significantly different in energy use, and significantly slower. So why on earth would anyone want it?

I'm not convinced it's possible, or that he can pull it off ... but in my opinion it is most unwise to bet against Elon Musk :).


Cindy I II III | August 17, 2013

@nickniketown, the Silex car looks like Darth Vadar's helmet on wheels. It is not inviting, nor friendly to me. Actually, I was quite put off and tried to run away...

@carlk, I think model S is so big so that he can fit his then wife and five boys in it :-). One of my colleagues was getting rid of his SLK, for his kids said he was too selfish by driving a car that the whole family couldn't share. My neighbor's wish to buy an A5 was vetoed by his wife and two daughters, for they did not want to deal with two doors, and bought A6 instead...

ziggy | August 17, 2013

The Tesla approach is insanely practical.. can you call the i8 practical? It is anything but.

It will not sell well to anyone that understands that the Model S exists.

sunrunner | August 17, 2013

It's has a top speed of 75 in electric mode and 22 miles of range before becoming a conventional combustion engine car. It's not even a threat to the Nissan leaf. Let alone the model S

Brian H | August 18, 2013

Home run, but well outside the foul pole. Strike two.

AmpedRealtor | August 18, 2013

How can a hybrid possibly be a "Model S killer"? It's a totally inferior technology that still relies on digging up million year old dead animals for power. Talk about backwards!

Mark K | August 18, 2013

BMW is not stupid. They are conflicted.