2020 BMW I8 Plug-in Hybrid

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2020 MODEL
$147,500
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2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: January 6, 2020

Swapnil Kulshrestha's image

Swapnil Kulshrestha Automotive Journalist


Among all this environment chaos that has been around for quite a while now, procuring a fossil-fuel burning super-ride may end you up in the guilt of contributing towards the degradation of the environment. However, the Bavarians have just the right offering for you that will satisfy your supercar cravings, without the slightest of guilt that may follow. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Excellent hybrid execution

Out of the box designing 

Simple and sensible interior 

Cons

Rear seats are more of a marketing gimmick 

Performance does not match the six-figure price sticker

Difficult to get in and out of

What's New?

No substantial changes for 2020


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Interior video
 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Review video
 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Exterior video

Styles

 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Crystal White Pearl Metallic color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in E-Copper Metallic wFrozen Gray Accent color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Donington Gray Metallic color  2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in Sophisto Gray Metallic color
Crystal White Pearl Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Base

Base

power
N/A
fuel
N/A
mpg
27 combined

$147,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A) Starting at $147,500 MSRP (26/27/29) 1.5L, Inline 3,
6-Speed Automatic all wheel drive 4

Expert Review


The BMW i8 is an offering from the house of Bavarians that bundle performance and efficiency in a futuristic design package. The i8 houses a 1.5L Intercooled Turbo I-3 engine as its primary power-mill, which is further complemented by an 11.6 kWh battery that runs two electric motors. This powerhouse arrangement makes the i8 the foremost plug-in hybrid on offer from the house of Bimmer. 

Carrying a hefty six-digit price sticker, the i8 lends itself in the pit with some of the most renowned coupes of the world. For the year 2020, the BMW i8 Coupe locks its horns with some renowned missiles such as the Acura NSX, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, and the Lexus LC 500h. 

2020 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid Coupe Front View
2020 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid Coupe Front View
2020 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid Coupe Rear View
2020 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid Coupe Rear View

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Features

The i8 is offered in a solitary trim, for which the prices start at an MSRP of $147,500. The ride can be procured either in a coupe avatar or a roadster variant. There are no powertrain changes in these variants, however, the roadster sans the rear seats which the Coupe houses. 

For the year 2020, the organization has decided to bring out a special edition i8, which goes by the name- Ultimate Sophisto. The special edition has been rolled out to observe the i8’s last year in service as the ride is set to face the ax after the completion of 2020. Only 200 of these limited-run models will be manufactured. 

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

BMW i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition

MSRP

$147,500

N/A

Key Features

3-stage heated front seats

Adds to or replaces the BMW i8 features: 

 

20-inch BMWi light-alloy radial-spoke bi-color wheels

Exclusive 20-inch Style 516 wheels finished in E-Copper

 

Ivory white with black contrast/Black leather

E-Copper Leather upholstery

 

ventilated 13-inch disc brakes with ABS

Black painted brake calipers

 

Shadowline exterior trim

Ultimate Sophisto Edition door sills

 

Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information

Head-Up Display

 

Carbon Fiber Interior trim

Ceramic controls

 

Rear storage compartment cover

Anthracite headliner

Which trim to go for?

The BMW i8 does not really offer any choices apart from the coupe and convertible variants. However, the Ultimate Sophisto Edition looks appealing and will give your i8 a special recognition factor. Though the prices are not yet out for this limited run variant. 

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Engine and Performance

The BMW i8 is a supercar in almost every possible way. Those out of the block looks, statement-making butterfly doors, and a sweet powertrain. The BMW i8 gets a 1.5L Intercooled Turbo I-3 engine as its primary power-mill, which is further complemented by an 11.6 kWh battery that runs two electric motors. 

The mid-mounted petrol engine generates 227 ponies while the electric pack is rated to generate 141 ponies, thus presenting a combined horsepower figure of 369 hp. The engine of the BMW i8 powers the rear wheels of the ride, lending them a spinning force of 236 lb.-ft. Whereas the electric motor generates 184 lb.-ft. Of torque and powers the ride’s front wheels, thus making the i8 a potent AWD vehicle. 

The i8 employs a 6-speed automatic transmission in order to handle the power-delivery duties for the petrol engine, and a 2-speed automatic transmission looks after the transmission needs of the battery pack. 

Models

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

Lexus LC 500h

MSRP

$147,500

$159,495

$120,600

$97,460

Engine

1.5L I-3 Intercooled Turbo Gas/Electric

3.5L Twin Turbo V-6

3.0L Twin-turbo Flat 6 

3.5L V6

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

9-Speed Dual-Clutch

8-Speed Automated Manual

10 Speed Automatic

Horsepower

369hp @ 5800 rpm

573hp @ 6500rpm

443 hp @ 6500 rpm

354hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque

420 lb.-ft. @ 3700 rpm

476 lb.-ft. @ 2000rpm

390 lb.-ft. @ 3900 rpm

369 lb.-ft. @ 4800 rpm

The BMW i8 Coupe and the Lexus LC 500h are the only two hybrids in this comparison and pack much less muscle as compared to their power-crazy gasoline rivals. The Acura NSX is the flagbearer of the league, packing a bonkers 573 hp and 476 lb.-ft. Of torque. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe ranks second with 443 hp and 390 lb.-ft. Of torque. The BMW i8 and the Lexus LC 500h follow up with 369 and 354 hp respectively.

How fast is the i8?

The BMW i8’s futuristic aerodynamic body-language and extensive carbon-fiber placements lend the ride great aff-the-mark capabilities. The BMW i8 can sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Rear view
2020 BMW i8 Coupe 0-60 MPH in just 4.2 sec

The souped-up Mini Cooper 1.5L I3 engine comes out with full force when the ride is engaged in the Sport mode. In this mode, the batteries also put their shoulders on the acceleration task and can make the ride go a quarter-mile distance in 12.4 seconds at a speed of 110 mph. The BMW i8 gets a top speed of 155 mph. 

Model

BMW i8 

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Lexus LC 500h

0-60 MPH

4.2 seconds

2.7 seconds

3.4 seconds

4.8 seconds

Quarter Mile

12.4 sec

11.2 seconds

11.3 seconds

14 sec

Engine

1.5L inline-3 Turbocharged Gas/Electric

3.5L Twin Turbo V-6

3.0L Twin-turbo Flat 6 

3.5L V6 Hybrid

The BMW i8 is quick for a hybrid car, but it just cannot match the hyper activeness of pure combustion cars. The Acura NSX is the fastest sprinter of the segment with a 0-60 time of under 3 seconds. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S makes the chase with 3.4 second sprint time. The BMW i8 and the Lexus LC 500h, carrying the hybrid sigil, finish the dash in 4.2 and 4.8 seconds respectively. 

What about the braking performance of the i8?

The BMW i8 deploys 13.4-inch stopping weapons at the front wheels of the i8 and 13.0-inches towards the rear. Though the dimensions are not absolutely stunning, the BMW i8 Coupe pulls off great stopping distance figures. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Brakes
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Front Brake is 13.4 in.

The BMW can decelerate from 60-0 in a distance of just 100 ft, owing to the aerodynamic design and lightweight body construction. The brakes have plenty of travel and inspire confidence. The ride does not sway under panic braking conditions and halts with utter conviction. 

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

Lexus LC 500h

Brake front

(in.)

13.4

14.5

13.8

13.3

Brake Rear

(in.)

13.0

14.2

13.8

12.1

Curb Weight

(lbs.)

3501

3878

3487

4435

60-0 MPH (ft.)

100

103

104

112

The BMW i8 pulls off the best in class braking performance, decelerating from 60-0 in a distance just 100 feet. The Acura NSX follows with a distance figure of 103 feet, followed up closely by the Porsche and finally the Lexus LC 500h. 

How good are its driving dynamics?

The BMW i8 is projected as a supercar with a 6-digit sticker price, but the ride it offers does not really do justice to the hefty price tag. The BMW i8 sources its steroids from a 1.5L I3 engine and an 11.6 kWh battery that runs two electric motors. Though it seems like a nice initiative towards the future, but the powertrains kind of leaves you high and dry after a certain point. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Rear View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Rearview

The i8 feels uncoordinated when driving around the urban streets as there is a noticeable lag when the ride transits from electric to gasoline generated power. Out on the open roads, the i8 feels much better, with easy handling, and four drive modes. The ride exhales the supercar aura, just until the time another six-digit rocket overtakes you in a jiffy. 

The suspension of the 2020 BMW i8 utilizes Magnetorheological liquid to modify itself per the driver's needs. It very well may be solidified up for greater stability around the corners of a circuit or slackened for a pleasurable ride of the around the town. The steering wheel is electronically assisted and feels smooth and light.

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Fuel Economy

The BMW i8 comes out with flying colors out of the Fuel efficiency test prism. The ride being a plug-in hybrid offers a combined mpg of 27 which indeed is one of the greatest figures of the segment.

The BMW i8’s battery pack can single-handedly make the ride roll for a distance of 22 miles, without even thinking of bringing the gasoline in action. The plug-in reserve can propel the ride at a top speed of 75 mph.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

Lexus LC 500h

MPG (city)

N/A

21

18

26

MPG (highway)

N/A

22

23

35

MPG (combined)

27

21

20

30

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

11.1 gal.

15.6 gal. 

17.6 gal.

22.2 gal.

Range (city/highway) (miles)

N/A

328/343

317/405

437/593

The BMW i8’s great fuel economy figures inflate the value of the otherwise tiny fuel tank that the ride possesses. The Lexus LC 500h though leads the mpg figure comparison with 30 combined mpg. The ride also gets the biggest fuel tank in the segment. The Acura NSX and the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe follow these mpg prophets with combined mpg of 21 and 20 respectively. 

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Interior

Open up those butterfly doors of the i8 and you’ll be greeted with an interior that looks typically BMW. Getting in and out of the car needs you to put out your best athletic skills as the wing doors do their part of enhancing the drama quotient and expect something in return. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Three Quarter View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Front Seats

The interior of the i8 though is not that avant-garde as the exterior but rather has a more sensible and practical approach. The controls are basic and easy to use. The driving position of the i8 makes you believe that you are in control of a hyper-rocket that’ll just catapult itself to the moon if pinned too hard.

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Lexus LC 500h

Passenger Capacity

4

2

4

4

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.7/56.7/43.1

38.3/57.7/42.9

N/A

37.2/56.5/42.0

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

32.4/49.6/28.2

-

N/A

32.2/49.0/32.5

The front seats feel comfortable and have several touches of leather that personify opulence. The seats also have decent bolstering that holds you in place and accounts for a commanding driving position. The Coupe though gets a set of rear seats, but it’s more of a marketing gimmick than actual usability, as its almost impossible to get to the rear seats. Moreover, they are too cramped to accommodate even children, forget about adults. 

Does it come loaded with tech inside?

Standard on the BMW i8 Coupe is an 8.8-inch touchscreen that presents all the vital information in the form of crisp graphics, that change form ultra-responsively. The i8 packs the following infotainment features

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Infotainment Screen
2020 BMW i8 Coupe 8.8-inch Touchscreen
  • BMW TeleServices
  • ConnectedDrive Services
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Bluetooth
  • SiriusXM
  • Over-the-Air updates

What are the different creature comforts on offer inside the i8?

The BMW i8 offers a number of features that make this 6-figure price ride a bit more agreeable. Though getting in of the i8 to experience these features is a task, but once you get past that test, the i8 packs a number of convenience features. Some of the most prominent comforts feature that the BMW i8 offers are

  • Ivory white with black contrast/Black leather
  • Driver footrest
  • Harman Kardon 12-speaker audio system
  • Cruise control
  • Head-up display
  • Start/stop button
  • Auto-dimming interior rearview mirror
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control
  • 3-stage heated front seats
  • 6-way power front seats
  • Tilt/telescoping steering column

What about utility?

The BMW i8 offers a compact cargo space that can fit a few grocery bags for you but do not expect anything over it. The ride offers 4.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which seems decent from the perspective of a sportscar. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Volume
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Volume with rear seats up is 4.7 cu ft.

The rear seats of the BMW i8 can also store some space for you, as they are not that well-mannered to warmly host your pals. 

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

Lexus LC 500h

Cargo Volume with rear seats up (ft.3)

4.7

4.4

4.6

4.7

Though the BMW i8 Coupe only gets 4.7 cubic feet of cargo space, it still triumphs over the likes of the Acura NSX and the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe  Steering Wheel
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Steering Wheel
2020 BMW i8 Coupe  Gear Shifter
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Gear Shifter
2020 BMW i8 Coupe  Steering wheel
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Steering wheel
2020 BMW i8 Coupe  Front Seats
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Front Seats
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Gear
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Cargo Gear

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Exterior

The rarity and exoticism that the BMW i8 exhibits in its body language and character are beyond the extraordinary mark. The BMW i8 looks like an upgraded Star Wars ferry that settled for a safer job of wooing the mankind and taking them places. 

2020 BMW i8 Coupe Three Quarter View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Three Quarter View

The BMW i8 looks plush, and class from each and every angle it can be viewed from. The ride is an absolute attention puller and has several elements that further establish the i8’s presence on the road. 

Model

BMW i8 Coupe

Acura NSX

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

Lexus LC 500h

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3501

3878

3487

4435

Length (in.)

184.9

176.1

177.9

187.4

Width (in.)

76.5

87.3

72.9

75.6

Height (in.)

50.8

47.8

51.2

53.0

Ground Clearance (in.)

4.6

3.7

4.7

5.2

Wheelbase (in.)

110.2

103.5

96.5

113.0

Track Width (in.) F/R

64.7/67.8

65.2/63.7

62.5/61.2

64.2/64.4

The BMW i8 Coupe rolls upon 20-inch radial spoke alloys and has a wide and low stance. The front fascia looks magnificent with the unique LED headlights. There’s a V-shaped air vent over the hood, allowing a good amount of air to pass through the engine. The split rear wing is also highly functional. It helps provide enough downforce to the rear of the car to keep it composed at high speeds.

What are the eye-catching features on the outside?

The BMW i8 is truly a standout vehicle. Be it the wing-doors, or the carbon-fiber touches on the body, the BMW i8 is a total attention-puller. Some of the noteworthy exterior features for the i8 are

  • Wing-doors
  • Body-colored front and rear bumpers with black rub strip
  • Black grille with metal-look surround
  • Colored rear bumper insert
  • Two-tone paint
  • Power remote right side-view door mirror with tilt down
  • Composite/aluminum body material
  • BMW iU-shape LED brake lights
  • Thermoplastic bumpers and fenders
  • 20-inch BMWi light-alloy radial-spoke bi-color wheels
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Front View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Front View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Front View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Front View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Rear view
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Rear view
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Side View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Side View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Three Quarter View
2020 BMW i8 Coupe Three Quarter View

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Safety

The BMW i8 depicts the future in its design, powertrain, and many other aspects. The future cars are certainly to be made safer for the occupants and following this notion, the BMW i8 Coupe packs in a wide array of safety features. Some of these features are

  • Anti-theft alarm
  • BMW Assist eCall
  • ABS
  • Active Driving Assistant
  • 6 airbags
  • Hybrid-specific Dynamic Stability Control
  • Dynamic Traction Control
  • Front and rear ventilated disc brakes
  • Side-impact bars
  • Forward collision warning
  • Panic alarm
  • Perimeter/approach lights

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Competition

BMW i8 vs. Acura NSX

The Acura NSX is the costliest hybrid vehicle that you can buy in this segment. However, that hefty price tag is worth every last cent spent on it. The Acura houses a 3.5L V6, that is further teamed up with 3 electric motors. This powerful engine arrangement of the NSX generates 573 ponies and 476 lb.-ft. Of torque, that can make the ride sprint from 0-60 in a holy 2.7 seconds. While the Beemer can use its battery power for going some distance, the NSX uses its electric parts like the Kinetic Energy Recovery System you would find on most Formula One race cars. For pure performance enthusiasts, the NSX is a great choice.

2020 Acura NSX
2020 Acura NSX

BMW i8 vs. Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe is the only vehicle of the segment that does not derive a pack of electric batteries under its hood. The ride is priced at $120,600 and comes fitted with a 3.0L V6 engine that fabricates 443 horses along with 390 lb.-ft. Of torque. The Porsche 911 Carrera has been a renowned name in the world of sports cars for a long time, and the 2020 4S Coupe, following the legacy, delivers a performance that is simply unrivaled. On one hand, where the i8 takes on a futuristic approach, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S keeps delivering chills in an orthodox way. 

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

 

2020 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid Final Verdict

The BMW i8 is more of a sneak peek at what kind of wheels the future beholds for us. The BMW i8 is an ideal hybrid supercar that delivers performance, efficiency, and innovation on immense scales. If you can afford the hefty price-tag, the i8 is a bang for your buck, that will pull a number of eyeballs as you hit the road. However, just don’t get upset when some other 6-digit price tag ride overtakes you on the expressway, after all, you are carrying the eco-friendly banner.