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BMW i8: Frankfurt Auto Show

What Is It?

The BMW i8 is a 2-door, 2-seat plug-in hybrid sports car. It’s the latest car to join BMW’s “i” lineup, following the tiny i3 that BMW revealed in production form in July. While the i3 is offered as a fully electric car or a plug-in hybrid with a gasoline backup engine, that’s not the case with the i8. Instead, all i8 models will use a 231-horsepower 1.5-liter 3-cylinder for the rear wheels and a 131-hp electric motor for the front wheels. The result is 362 hp, all-wheel drive, a 0-to-60 miles per hour time of 4.4 seconds and, by BMW estimates, an impressive 94 miles per gallon.

How Much?

Prices start at $136,000 and increase with options from there.

When Can You Get It?

Spring 2014.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

The BMW i8 makes plug-in hybrid technology cool. Its bold styling is full of sharp creases, daring lines and exciting new elements, such as blue accents and a sculpted rear bumper. Its doors are hinged on the car’s A-pillar, meaning they open to the sky. And with 0-to-60 mph times of around 4.4 seconds, the i8 will leave many top-level sports cars in the dust. Pricing is steep, but when you think about the i8’s many attributes — a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, all-wheel drive, exotic styling — it’s easy to imagine paying big money for one.

Other Cars to Consider

Aston Martin Vantage — It starts in the same price range as the i8 and offers similar head-turning styling. But those looking for a plug-in version will be sorely disappointed, since the technology has not yet reached low-volume brands such as Aston Martin.

Audi R8 — There’s no plug-in hybrid version, but the R8 includes many of the same particulars, such as all-wheel drive and head-turning styling. The R8 also starts in the same price range as the sporty i8.

Tesla Model S — It’s not a plug-in hybrid or a coupe, but the Model S will likely appeal to many of the same buyers as the BMW i8. It combines luxury, performance and gas mileage like few other cars on the road.

See all Frankfurt Auto Show news

Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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