BMW i8 vs. M4 Drag Race by Top Gear Is a Photo Finish

Are we too mature to watch a drag race between two totally different BMW coupes? Of course not, let her rip! The i8 has gone up against the M4 on several other occasions, but that won't stop us from sharing this video, especially when it's from Top Gear.
BMW i8 vs. M4 Drag Race by Top Gear Is a Photo Finish 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
The Brits have realized their internet presence is not that great and organized the drag race shootouts that everybody wants to see, including the three-way SUV fight we showed you last week. There are plenty of AMG and RS models left, but let's just focus on what's at hand.

In the blue corner, there's the super-sexy i8. Even though everybody thinks it's a supercar, the flagship of the i range has a 1.5-liter engine with only three cylinders. While it might be similar to what the MINI Cooper has, the output is more along the lines of a JCW. Couple that with an electric motor that drives the front axle and you have one of the most interesting coupes on the planet.

By comparison, the M4 seems normal. It too has some advanced features, such as the first twin-turbo engine BMW has offered in this segment (an M compact). It's a 3-liter unit that offers more power than the i8 can muster: 425 hp vs. the hybrid's 357 hp (US market figures).

So how can this possibly be a close race? Well, hybrids are usually heavy, but BMW invested a lot of money into making the i8 from something called carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The sturdy yet light material means the i8 is about 300lbs less than an M4 coupe when they hit the scales. Torque is similar, slightly favoring the M4. However, everybody knows that electric motors have no lag, which is a huge advantage in a race.

On paper, the M4 is faster, but you can't trust a company like BMW, who needs to make several awesome machines that don't trample all over each other. After all, what do you do when a loyal customer asks you why his M4 lost a race against a hybrid?

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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