The 2023 BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid sports car developed by BMW. The 2023 BMW i8 is available in a single trim level, available in coupe or sunroof. The BMW i8 was part of BMW’s electrified fleet and was marketed under the BMW i sub-brand. BMW offers only one powertrain in the i8. The i8 Coupe has a 2+2 seating arrangement, the BMW i8 Roadster distributes the seats in exchange for the roof mechanism. The two models utilize a similar module crossover powertrain that delivers a consolidated 369 drive.
A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission power the rear wheels, and an electric motor drives the front wheels via a two-speed automatic transmission. The 2023 BMW i8 is a unique and extremely interesting car on many levels. From its build to the powertrain and even the ease with which it explores its key limits, the i8 can be a very satisfying ride. Driving in slow-moving traffic highlights many of the i8’s shortcomings.
The BMW i8 misses the mark on different fronts, particularly in this cost range. Android Auto is not supported and even Apple CarPlay requires a subscription after a one-year free trial. The BMW i8 also lacks some of the nearly ubiquitous driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and high-speed emergency braking. The buyer gets a forward collision warning and low-speed emergency braking. Fortunately, neither of these systems is overly sensitive. Three grocery bags can fit in the 4.7 cubic feet of luggage space. That’s less than you get from an Audi R8 or Mercedes AMG GT, but more than an Acura NSX. The BMW i8 enjoys the benefits of having rear seats, however impractical. They do double duty as an interior storage rack for larger items like backpacks and jackets.
2023 BMW i8 : Interior
Inside, the i8 focuses on design versus practicality, front-seat passengers won’t feel cramped. The BMW i8 roadster has seating for just two passengers, with a folding roof taking up the space of a double jump seat in the coupe. Standard interior features include heated power seats and leather touches. Cooled seats, electrically adjustable steering wheel and passenger seat lumbar support are not even available as options. The i8 has a negligible amount of space for luggage and minimal space for the trivia of modern life.
The i8’s rear cargo area is long but shallow – unlike some mid-engined sports cars, there’s no storage in the front trunk, and we managed to fit just one hand luggage inside. The BMW i8’s infotainment system will be familiar to less exotic BMW owners. The system is largely intuitive and displayed on the sharp-looking 8.8-inch touchscreen above the front panel. Apple CarPlay is standard, but Android Auto is not available on any i8 model.
2023 BMW i8 : Engine
The BMW i8 is paired with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine with an 11.6 kWh battery pack and two electric motors. The trio of power supplies combines a total of 369 horsepower, capable of driving all four wheels. The BMW i8’s EPA fuel economy ratings aren’t impressive among hybrids, but it’s still better than most sports cars. During our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test, the roadster delivered 35 MPGe and went 22 miles on electricity alone.
2023 BMW i8: Safety
The 2023 BMW i8 has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but that’s not too surprising. Few sports cars in this segment have been crash-tested by federal authorities. The BMW i8 is a strong and robust car that is expected to easily withstand the worst of collisions. The 2023 BMW i8’s key safety features include automatic braking, collision warning, and front and rear parking sensors.