Things You Should Know Before Buying a BMW i8

The BMW i8 is one of the most sought after cars of the moment and there’s no doubt about it. At the moment, the waiting list is one year long which means that if you order one now, you’ll be getting it in November 2015.
BMW i8 44 photos
Photo: BMW
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Sounds discouraging, right? Well, it might very well be but we’re optimists around here and though that even though you have one year to prepare for your very first ride in the i8, it’s not too early to start right now.

Therefore, we put together a couple of tips for you, things you should know before starting the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the back and roll off the dealership’s parking lot.

Be careful with the sport mode

The i8 can be driven in a couple of different modes, just like any other BMW of late. However, since it has such a high desirability, it will probably attract a lot of customers that are new to the blue and white roundel company. That means, they’re not particularly familiar with the way the automatic gearshift knob works.

BMW’s system is a bit special compared to others and, in order to get to manually shift your gears, you’ll have to tilt the lever to the left. Pushing and pulling will shift up and down respectively. However, that’s all you’ll be able to do. In order to go backwards or put the car in neutral, you’ll have to tilt the lever to the right. That’s something newbies will forget about.

It might sound stupid and logical but trust us when we tell you that you might be surprised a couple of times. It’s better to be prepared, especially since we’re sure you’re going to drive this car in sport mode.

The fuel consumption is not going to be what you expect

BMW claims that the i8 will do 121 mpg (2.1 l/100 km) but the EPA found the cars it tested a bit more thirsty. Basically they said that it sips 4 times more from the tank, rating it at 28 mpg (8.4 l/100 km) on a combined cycle. Sure, your results will differ but we reckon the EPA was a bit too harsh here.

Owners claim that their cars usually return between 30 and 35 mpg (7.8 l/100 km - 6.7 l/100 km). Better results can be achieved if you also charge the car but the ones we mentioned were recorded without ever charging the battery alone. All the drivers seem to prefer to just fill up the tank and go, leaving the internal-combustion unit to work as a generator as well.

You won’t have problems with the fuel cap

Since the i8 has a specific layout, BMW wanted to make everything safe around and in it. Therefore, they made sure that no fumes from the gas tank would ever reach the electric parts to cause an explosion.

In this regard, the tank of the i8 is always pressurized to make sure nothing leaks. That also means that there’s a slight delay when taking off the fuel cap to refuel. That’s the time the car needs to make sure everything’s ok before you go forward at the gas station.

Some people hurried to say that you’ll have problems with this seemingly overly-complicated system but according to various owners, that won’t be the case. In the worst case scenario, you’ll have to wait a couple of seconds before the latch disengages.

Be ready for the tech inside

The i8 is an expensive car according to some. However, if you take into account the amount of tech you get, you might change your mind. We’re not talking about the powertrain here but rather for the amount of features you’d get as optionals on other cars (they’re standard on the i8).

For example, you’ll get the Driving Assistant inside your car and it will warn you about every speed limit you encounter on your way. That’s going to be more than useful and you might end up missing it on other cars. It’s a serious issue, stop laughing.

The same goes for the Surround View system that uses carefully planted cameras around the car to create a ‘bird-eye’ view of your i8 to help you park. Trust us, it’s addictive.

Leaning the seats forward is done using a button on the back of the headrests

There’s no room for luggage

That you probably guessed. If you want to carry anything with this car, make sure it fits in the tiny space reserved for such purposes above the rear axle. Yeah, it’s really small and you won’t fit much there.

The rear seats will serve for such purposes though as they are way too small for any adult to sit in them. Kids might fit but even they should be under 12 or something.

Getting in and out is a headache

The wide door sills and the low center of gravity are two of the factors that make getting in and out of the i8 a headache. Add in those flashy doors that will get attention everywhere you park and you might end up in rather embarrassing situations. And that brings us to the last point of our guide list

The attention this car gets is overwhelming

I know it sounds ridiculous, but trust me, the i8 is really all that. From this point of view it’s up there with the Porsche 918 Spyder, the Ferrari LaFerrari and the McLaren P1. Just like people surround those cars in the parking lot, it’s the same with the i8.

The design of the car and its doors are the main attraction as well as the headlights and the air channeling taillights. Those all will attract attention and people will be flocking to your car to see it closer.

Don’t believe us? Here, check out what an owner said about it (this guy also owns a SLS AMG so you’d better believe he knows what he’s talking about):

GOOD LORD, the attention. I don't know if I could take the level of attention this car gets if the SLS hadn't been my training wheels for people staying in your blind spot, riding your tail, or merging in front of you for pictures. I was approached by at least 5 people at EVERY gas station I stopped at, sometimes more...and that isn't an exaggeration. At one point on a highway with three lanes per side, there was no traffic in front of me because the three cars in the three lanes behind me were all taking pictures and blocking traffic. If you aren't used to it, IT WILL GET OLD FAST. Don't expect to go anywhere without a conversation at some point. People yelling at you from their cars. Basically, people go crazy when they see it.

There you have it, from the horse’s mouth.

So, do you feel ready to take on the i8, yet? You’d better be prepared to do so maybe even before ordering it. Just make sure you’ll be up to the task of owning and driving such a car.
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