LUCKY TEST DRIVE: Wheels24 user Trevor Noble got a taste of BMW's i8 and shared his views and images with us. Image: Trevor Noble
'I was lucky enough to get the chance to have the i8 for the weekend earlier in November, provided by Breemans - South Rotterdam, Netherlands', writes Wheels24 user Trevor Noble.
I collected the white with blue trim i8 sports car with the intention of a short blast on the German Autobahn but due to insurance restrictions was confined to the Dutch roads where officially the fastest you can drive is 130km/h - this in a car that is capable of (a limited) 250km/h - oh well!
Trevor Noble's image gallery: BMW i8
I decided to head out to the woods and harbour to get some 'Eco shots' in a part Eco car.
The first challenge was to master the art of getting in and out of vehicle and still keeping all your body parts in the right place as this car has "wing" doors and a high sill! After a few practice runs with backside-first and legs following, I mastered it.
Once inside it looked all very BMW but with surprisingly good visibility despite its low stance.
Starting the car, which has the electric motor driving the front wheels and the three-cylinder 1500cc turbo engine driving the rear, is done with a push of the start button. The combined power of the two engines is 270kW for a car that weighs in at 1485kg.
The petrol engine is one of the most powerful engines for its size and produces 172kW on its own from the turbo 1500cc engine from the Mini Cooper.
The auto gearbox can be used in four different modes with pure electric for around 50kms in E Drive while Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport is available. Of course Sport was my default mode (only because it was charging the batteries).
With my son Chris in the passenger seat and Kelly shoe-horned into the +2 seat we set off for the forest photo shoot.
The ride was firm at best but when you open the windows and hit the loud pedal the sound the amazing three-cylinder turbo engine makes was unbelievable !! it sounded like a mix between a V8 and a V12 - despite the cold weather the windows stayed down most of the week end.
I have heard that the sound is created by some very clever speakers both in the exhaust and inside the car - will have to find out more about this.
I did not exceed the national speed limit - by much - during the time with this Euro 150 000 vehicle although it was tempting but far too recognisible (pity)
I must say that during the time with the vehicle the most difficult part was getting used to the looks the car was getting where ever we went and the amount of interest and questions when you stopped.
The pictures with this article are those taken over the w/end and three from the Brussels Auto Show in 2010 which featured the "Concept" version.
My overall impression of the i8 was that it was a great experience but do not believe I would have this as a daily drive even if I cracked the "Euro zillions" - in fact I do not really know what I would have until I have had a chance to drive a lot more 'supercars'
My thanks to Breeman and Jouke for trusting me with this innovative Carbon Fibre chassis BMW with great looks.