RE: BMW i8 | PH Used Buying Guide

RE: BMW i8 | PH Used Buying Guide

Author
Discussion

BERNEV

19 posts

65 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
There is quite a lot of twaddled talked about the i8. Anyway, I think the reason BMW axed the i8 and toned down its aspirations for i8/i3 is that it wasn't commercially successful and nobody was following suit. We have to remember that BMW has never been an innovator, great at steady evolution of super saloons granted, but never in the forefront of technology. Until the i8/i3 that is. As a big company which has moved away from lowish volume to mass sales across the whole spectrum of motoring this "failure to meet the bottom line" must have scared them witless. Hence the move back to standard PHEVs and new pure EVs - in line with the herd. So, with iNEXT put on the shelf for now, I suspect that we won't see another car like the i8 from BMW for a very long time - they just won't take the risk until they forget about the hurt. So in 2035 or so.... It seems BMW tend to have a random creative urge every twenty years or so - M1, Z8 - and then go back to what they are good at when it crashes and burns. Which it also did for both M1 and Z8 - both were motoring dead ends. The problem with the i8 is that, unlike M1 and Z8 which were halo cars, BMW really did think it would change the world with it and carried on until they had made 20000 of them (loads more than the Z8 or M1). So, it most have hurt very badly indeed.

In relation to the car and for those that haven't driven it - it is fabulous. It does everything really well but clearly does not beat anything in any category. It is truly a Jack of all Trades and no worse for that in my view. People often say "An R8 is faster; a Polo is more economical; a X5 has more space; it's not as EV as a Tesla". All true but a Polo can't do 0-62 in 4.4 seconds either. It seems to me that a lot of people talk about car comparisons on here on the basis of Top Trumps specifications etc and not from the perspective of the real world. But for most people who buy such cars economics has to be factor. For me having a car that is usable daily, looks epic and has sensible running costs is fundamental. There is little point in having a vehicle if it can't be run due to reliability or cost issues. Now I am not casting aspersions on any other cars but I think I can categorically say that the i8 is reliable and is very low cost to run in comparison to other cars that it is compared to on here (R8/911 etc). And in comparison to other similar posey or wacky cars (McLaren/Ferrari) it's cheap as chips. Same, it's much cheaper to run than an equivalent posh GT (Aston/Conti) that you could get for the same sort of money secondhand. I am not comparing it to any of them but to make the point that having a car that looks fabulous, goes fairly well but has a tiny engine can actually be a good thing.

Fo other i8 owners on here, we will continue to be trolled for having a car that has a MINI engine and is unreliable/batteries will fail/insert your favourite i8 failure here (even if it's not true). But in time, I suspect that the tide will turn as people recognise the i8 for what it is. I might have mentioned this in a previous post but I had the same sort of "OMG what are you doing?" thing when I bought my first (secondhand) NSX in preference to a new Boxster (in 1996). The NSX was three years old. I still have an NSX. If I opted for a Boxster it would be worth £2000. The NSX meanwhile is well over £50,000. It's also dead reliable and cheap(ash) to run. It still turns heads. It is now recognised as the game changer it was rather than the car people overlooked in favour of a 996. I know which I would rather have. The same applies to the i8. We should review this thread in 2035!

jamesbilluk

1,890 posts

138 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
^^^^^
Very well said!

tonyshepp

17 posts

78 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
I’m tempted, I have an E93 M3 convertible. I like the R8 but like the post above I don’t want high running costs. The main issue I can’t yet get my head to overcome is the problem of getting in and out of it, it’s bad enough opening the doors of a traditional coupe in a car park.

HM-2

4,991 posts

124 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
GTRene said:
That looks great.

lotuslover69

198 posts

98 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
I quite like the I8, i have thought about one as my next car, although it does look like it is stting out a 911 at the rear.

Durzel

8,810 posts

123 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
What I don't get about this car, really, is why it can't now be a pure EV car? BMW have the experience with the i3, all they need to do surely is scale it up? There's certainly a gap in the market if they can get the car under Taycan and Model S pricing.

Maybe I'm being too simplistic.

When I first saw this car I thought it looked cool, but I also thought it would date terribly. Several years later - it hasn't. It still looks contemporary to my eyes, and in a sea of normal cars it stands out a mile. Such a shame then that it's got a anachronistic powertrain underneath.

In terms of supercar-ness it is every bit a supercar as the R8 is, which is to say it isn't. But, it is dramatic, unconventional, fast, uncompromising in its original conception, flawed... so actually maybe it is.

sidesauce

1,304 posts

173 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
BERNEV said:
There is quite a lot of twaddled talked about the i8. Anyway, I think the reason BMW axed the i8 and toned down its aspirations for i8/i3 is that it wasn't commercially successful and nobody was following suit. We have to remember that BMW has never been an innovator, great at steady evolution of super saloons granted, but never in the forefront of technology. Until the i8/i3 that is. As a big company which has moved away from lowish volume to mass sales across the whole spectrum of motoring this "failure to meet the bottom line" must have scared them witless. Hence the move back to standard PHEVs and new pure EVs - in line with the herd. So, with iNEXT put on the shelf for now, I suspect that we won't see another car like the i8 from BMW for a very long time - they just won't take the risk until they forget about the hurt. So in 2035 or so.... It seems BMW tend to have a random creative urge every twenty years or so - M1, Z8 - and then go back to what they are good at when it crashes and burns. Which it also did for both M1 and Z8 - both were motoring dead ends. The problem with the i8 is that, unlike M1 and Z8 which were halo cars, BMW really did think it would change the world with it and carried on until they had made 20000 of them (loads more than the Z8 or M1). So, it most have hurt very badly indeed.

In relation to the car and for those that haven't driven it - it is fabulous. It does everything really well but clearly does not beat anything in any category. It is truly a Jack of all Trades and no worse for that in my view. People often say "An R8 is faster; a Polo is more economical; a X5 has more space; it's not as EV as a Tesla". All true but a Polo can't do 0-62 in 4.4 seconds either. It seems to me that a lot of people talk about car comparisons on here on the basis of Top Trumps specifications etc and not from the perspective of the real world. But for most people who buy such cars economics has to be factor. For me having a car that is usable daily, looks epic and has sensible running costs is fundamental. There is little point in having a vehicle if it can't be run due to reliability or cost issues. Now I am not casting aspersions on any other cars but I think I can categorically say that the i8 is reliable and is very low cost to run in comparison to other cars that it is compared to on here (R8/911 etc). And in comparison to other similar posey or wacky cars (McLaren/Ferrari) it's cheap as chips. Same, it's much cheaper to run than an equivalent posh GT (Aston/Conti) that you could get for the same sort of money secondhand. I am not comparing it to any of them but to make the point that having a car that looks fabulous, goes fairly well but has a tiny engine can actually be a good thing.

Fo other i8 owners on here, we will continue to be trolled for having a car that has a MINI engine and is unreliable/batteries will fail/insert your favourite i8 failure here (even if it's not true). But in time, I suspect that the tide will turn as people recognise the i8 for what it is. I might have mentioned this in a previous post but I had the same sort of "OMG what are you doing?" thing when I bought my first (secondhand) NSX in preference to a new Boxster (in 1996). The NSX was three years old. I still have an NSX. If I opted for a Boxster it would be worth £2000. The NSX meanwhile is well over £50,000. It's also dead reliable and cheap(ash) to run. It still turns heads. It is now recognised as the game changer it was rather than the car people overlooked in favour of a 996. I know which I would rather have. The same applies to the i8. We should review this thread in 2035!
Yup, agreed. BMW were ahead of the curve with this car.

Derek 111S

91 posts

195 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
I thoroughly enjoyed the two and a half years I had with my i8, but there is noway I’d run one without full warranty.

I suffered the fuel door pressure switch issue referred to in the article, had a broken engine mount changed and was stranded due to a HV battery safety box needing replaced. None of these jobs were quick fixes, and not something to be done with the car up on axle stands at home over a weekend. I can’t fault the dealer though, as loan cars of another i8 and new M5 were provided.

erics

2,547 posts

166 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
On my 3rd i8 now (a roadster) after a myriad of other sportscars: aston v12v, porsche 911 turbo and turbo s, gt3. rs's etc..

Had my first i8 in 2014 and have not been without one ever since. Coupes and Roadsters are quite a bit more different than i initially thought. The former is rock solid in build quality, smooth riding, swiss army knife of a car (i used rear seats with baby seats etc). The latter has a beefier steering and a bit more sporty in character.

It's just such an easy going sportscar. I actually rides better than the previous gen conti gt speed i was looking to buy at one point.
I recently drove a 720s with a view to replace my 2015 coupe and thought 'what's the point?'. Running costs 10-15x times that of the i8 and unnecessarily fast for modern day driving. And i really like fast cars but this was just silly.

It costs literally peanuts to run. Many times i have done 600 miles+ on 40 litres of petrol.

Maintenance has been ridiculously cheap.

It feels at least as special to own (sense of occasion) as an aston v12v. It is as fast if not faster in the real world (torque). Feels much fresher and modern. The Aston felt a bit like a dinosaur in comparison driving them back to back.

To me it looks fantastic assuming you get frozen grey accents as opposed to blue which makes the rear end look worse.

It rides, very, very well. It flows really well with the road. Anyone saying otherwise has never been in a modern sportscar.

As to comparing it to gtr, tesla, polo or whatever else, you would arrive to the same conclusion if you did this with a 911. Frankly irrelevant.

The minus sides are: fuel sensor, hearing about windshields cracking (never had one on any of my 3 cars), depreciation if you were one of the early adopters. Fortunately has a £50k ish discount on Roadster. Bonus is that they made only 3,600 of the latter.

Never heard of batteries / engine going wrong or anything like that. With -say- Porsche 911's have bore scoring, bearbox issues, ims, rms etc etc etc.

My advice, go and drive one, too many keyboard warriors out there who have zero experience of sportscar other than 2nd hand information or preconceived ideas. A word of warning: you may end up liking it..


BERNEV

19 posts

65 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
"You may end up liking it....."

I went in to my local dealership to look at replacing my Z4 E89 with a G24 (or whatever the new one is) and my wife saw an i8 Roadster upstairs in Donington Grey. She said it looked fabulous. I thought nothing of it until I realised that I had begun to look at the classifieds and had seen that year old Roadsters were substantially less costly than new ones. I rang the dealer for a test ride in a White one. I have to say that I was little technophobic to start with - the Z4 is the most modern car I have and the only thing modern about it is an old style i-Drive. So, I had no idea what to expect and the dealer person revving up the little engine on the forecourt did it no favours at all. Like others on here - "A MINI engine? Come on!". Whatever, to cut a long story short, I had worked out how to use Sport mode within a mile and immensely enjoyed the 45 minutes we had on open roads and in town. I have to say that we were both convinced that this was the way to go within minutes - I didn't need the 45 minutes at all.

It is very different and it's not like my ICE cars one bit but I like them all. People need to give the i8 a chance. Buy one now while they are so cheap (in the UK at least). And we got a Donington Grey one eventually....

ate one too

2,047 posts

101 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
I have only driven an i8 once, on a track experience day which included a Gallardo, a Caterham and an Atom.

I set my quickest lap in the i8 ...

The rapid detailer

251 posts

139 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all


Bmw lent us one last year and what a car. Wife drove up to meet me at Croft for the Btcc and was hooked. Stunning motorcar in every way except one, too much attention for her daily. Still great car and becoming a proper steal as they come down in price.

BFleming

2,217 posts

98 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
ate one too said:
I have only driven an i8 once, on a track experience day which included a Gallardo, a Caterham and an Atom.
That's my i8 experience too, when I also drove a Gallardo, F360, Vantage and an Atom. The i8 was great, but on hindsight the 360, even with its F1 gearbox, was very special.

chelme

1,000 posts

125 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
One of the few good looking BMWs of late.

Tempted however the faked engine note would be a deal breaker.

Otherwise a very nice looking allrounder.

cerb4.5lee

15,238 posts

135 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
chelme said:
Tempted however the faked engine note would be a deal breaker.
I think it is needed on this(and the 2 litre 4 cylinder engine in my Mini). I don't actually mind the fake noise on little engines like this and my Mini, and it sounds reasonably purposeful I reckon. I not 100% sold on why they do it in the M4 for example though. I would like to think that a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine would sound ok without it.

Water Fairy

3,179 posts

110 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
BERNEV said:
There is quite a lot of twaddled talked about the i8. Anyway, I think the reason BMW axed the i8 and toned down its aspirations for i8/i3 is that it wasn't commercially successful and nobody was following suit. We have to remember that BMW has never been an innovator, great at steady evolution of super saloons granted, but never in the forefront of technology. Until the i8/i3 that is. As a big company which has moved away from lowish volume to mass sales across the whole spectrum of motoring this "failure to meet the bottom line" must have scared them witless. Hence the move back to standard PHEVs and new pure EVs - in line with the herd. So, with iNEXT put on the shelf for now, I suspect that we won't see another car like the i8 from BMW for a very long time - they just won't take the risk until they forget about the hurt. So in 2035 or so.... It seems BMW tend to have a random creative urge every twenty years or so - M1, Z8 - and then go back to what they are good at when it crashes and burns. Which it also did for both M1 and Z8 - both were motoring dead ends. The problem with the i8 is that, unlike M1 and Z8 which were halo cars, BMW really did think it would change the world with it and carried on until they had made 20000 of them (loads more than the Z8 or M1). So, it most have hurt very badly indeed.

In relation to the car and for those that haven't driven it - it is fabulous. It does everything really well but clearly does not beat anything in any category. It is truly a Jack of all Trades and no worse for that in my view. People often say "An R8 is faster; a Polo is more economical; a X5 has more space; it's not as EV as a Tesla". All true but a Polo can't do 0-62 in 4.4 seconds either. It seems to me that a lot of people talk about car comparisons on here on the basis of Top Trumps specifications etc and not from the perspective of the real world. But for most people who buy such cars economics has to be factor. For me having a car that is usable daily, looks epic and has sensible running costs is fundamental. There is little point in having a vehicle if it can't be run due to reliability or cost issues. Now I am not casting aspersions on any other cars but I think I can categorically say that the i8 is reliable and is very low cost to run in comparison to other cars that it is compared to on here (R8/911 etc). And in comparison to other similar posey or wacky cars (McLaren/Ferrari) it's cheap as chips. Same, it's much cheaper to run than an equivalent posh GT (Aston/Conti) that you could get for the same sort of money secondhand. I am not comparing it to any of them but to make the point that having a car that looks fabulous, goes fairly well but has a tiny engine can actually be a good thing.

Fo other i8 owners on here, we will continue to be trolled for having a car that has a MINI engine and is unreliable/batteries will fail/insert your favourite i8 failure here (even if it's not true). But in time, I suspect that the tide will turn as people recognise the i8 for what it is. I might have mentioned this in a previous post but I had the same sort of "OMG what are you doing?" thing when I bought my first (secondhand) NSX in preference to a new Boxster (in 1996). The NSX was three years old. I still have an NSX. If I opted for a Boxster it would be worth £2000. The NSX meanwhile is well over £50,000. It's also dead reliable and cheap(ash) to run. It still turns heads. It is now recognised as the game changer it was rather than the car people overlooked in favour of a 996. I know which I would rather have. The same applies to the i8. We should review this thread in 2035!
The i8 is not for me at all but I respect this post. One of the best I've seen on here for a good while.

jamesbilluk

1,890 posts

138 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
chelme said:
Tempted however the faked engine note would be a deal breaker.
I think it is needed on this(and the 2 litre 4 cylinder engine in my Mini). I don't actually mind the fake noise on little engines like this and my Mini, and it sounds reasonably purposeful I reckon. I not 100% sold on why they do it in the M4 for example though. I would like to think that a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine would sound ok without it.
It doesn't seem to sound too bad for what it is, there's an electric whine in sports mode which is added in along with the engine sound, with the blips on downshift I sometimes forget its a 3 cylinder.

Agreed about the M4, when I had the convertible disabled the active sound system, and it sounded much better inside when it was the genuine engine noise.

cerb4.5lee

15,238 posts

135 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
jamesbilluk said:
cerb4.5lee said:
chelme said:
Tempted however the faked engine note would be a deal breaker.
I think it is needed on this(and the 2 litre 4 cylinder engine in my Mini). I don't actually mind the fake noise on little engines like this and my Mini, and it sounds reasonably purposeful I reckon. I not 100% sold on why they do it in the M4 for example though. I would like to think that a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine would sound ok without it.
It doesn't seem to sound too bad for what it is, there's an electric whine in sports mode which is added in along with the engine sound, with the blips on downshift I sometimes forget its a 3 cylinder.

Agreed about the M4, when I had the convertible disabled the active sound system, and it sounded much better inside when it was the genuine engine noise.
I didn't know about the electric whine that is added in as well in these thanks. It is also good to hear that the M4 sounds better naturally too, and I've read that a few people have done what you did as well.

bennno

6,271 posts

224 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
BERNEV said:
There is quite a lot of twaddled talked about the i8. Anyway, I think the reason BMW axed the i8 and toned down its aspirations for i8/i3 is that it wasn't commercially successful and nobody was following suit. We have to remember that BMW has never been an innovator, great at steady evolution of super saloons granted, but never in the forefront of technology. Until the i8/i3 that is. As a big company which has moved away from lowish volume to mass sales across the whole spectrum of motoring this "failure to meet the bottom line" must have scared them witless. Hence the move back to standard PHEVs and new pure EVs - in line with the herd. So, with iNEXT put on the shelf for now, I suspect that we won't see another car like the i8 from BMW for a very long time - they just won't take the risk until they forget about the hurt. So in 2035 or so.... It seems BMW tend to have a random creative urge every twenty years or so - M1, Z8 - and then go back to what they are good at when it crashes and burns. Which it also did for both M1 and Z8 - both were motoring dead ends. The problem with the i8 is that, unlike M1 and Z8 which were halo cars, BMW really did think it would change the world with it and carried on until they had made 20000 of them (loads more than the Z8 or M1). So, it most have hurt very badly indeed.

In relation to the car and for those that haven't driven it - it is fabulous. It does everything really well but clearly does not beat anything in any category. It is truly a Jack of all Trades and no worse for that in my view. People often say "An R8 is faster; a Polo is more economical; a X5 has more space; it's not as EV as a Tesla". All true but a Polo can't do 0-62 in 4.4 seconds either. It seems to me that a lot of people talk about car comparisons on here on the basis of Top Trumps specifications etc and not from the perspective of the real world. But for most people who buy such cars economics has to be factor. For me having a car that is usable daily, looks epic and has sensible running costs is fundamental. There is little point in having a vehicle if it can't be run due to reliability or cost issues. Now I am not casting aspersions on any other cars but I think I can categorically say that the i8 is reliable and is very low cost to run in comparison to other cars that it is compared to on here (R8/911 etc). And in comparison to other similar posey or wacky cars (McLaren/Ferrari) it's cheap as chips. Same, it's much cheaper to run than an equivalent posh GT (Aston/Conti) that you could get for the same sort of money secondhand. I am not comparing it to any of them but to make the point that having a car that looks fabulous, goes fairly well but has a tiny engine can actually be a good thing.

Fo other i8 owners on here, we will continue to be trolled for having a car that has a MINI engine and is unreliable/batteries will fail/insert your favourite i8 failure here (even if it's not true). But in time, I suspect that the tide will turn as people recognise the i8 for what it is. I might have mentioned this in a previous post but I had the same sort of "OMG what are you doing?" thing when I bought my first (secondhand) NSX in preference to a new Boxster (in 1996). The NSX was three years old. I still have an NSX. If I opted for a Boxster it would be worth £2000. The NSX meanwhile is well over £50,000. It's also dead reliable and cheap(ash) to run. It still turns heads. It is now recognised as the game changer it was rather than the car people overlooked in favour of a 996. I know which I would rather have. The same applies to the i8. We should review this thread in 2035!
Some good points, however

- Boxster comparison wrong, you could have bought a couple of Jonny Cecotto E30 M3's, or a 911 3.2clubsport or 964RS all of which would be worth x times as much again.

- There is a strong parrallel with between the i8 and NSX, both are pseudo supercars, great looks and usable but without the performance / engine character / distinct from rep mobile interior that would make them bonefide classics.

- I was due to buy an i8 last month, but suddenly saw a couple of late, low mileage, very well priced sports series mclarens. It lit up the whole cost to run and everyday usable vs supercar performance. It was a heart vs head - but after a few long days of pondering i decided the i8 still has a way to drop and looks a bit ungainly. Its special, but still not properly special.




Edited by bennno on Monday 29th June 21:39


Edited by bennno on Monday 29th June 21:41

MrOrange

1,866 posts

208 months

Monday 29th June
quotequote all
it's a shame BMW have pulled the plug, I thought it was a very brave and radical idea back in 2014 - it is where, honestly, I think most sports/GT cars will have to go - small ICE + small batteries + exotic materials = sensible weight + good performance + interesting packaging options.

I've had my i8 for over 4 years now (about 20k miles) it's not perfect by a long shot but I do think it's much misunderstood by "petrolheads". I do have other cars and bikes, so it's not a daily - but it does get used.

It's cheap as chips to run, and I mean really cheap for what it is, and not compared to a diesel 3 series.

Costs me less than £200 pm to run. That's RFL, fuel, insurance, tyres, servicing and a full BMW warranty. That smarts every time I consider change, very little comes close in the VFM stakes. It has been 100% reliable (fuel flap issue aside, TADTS), the dealers treat me well (the i8 effect, I call it) and have been a breath of fresh air. It feels as if it will go forever, no creaks, no rattles, no shabby interior, no crappy paint, nothing falling off or wearing out - it looks and feels brand new.

It's more than fast enough for the roads, very few cars will best it unless *really* trying - the performance is effortless and easily exploited. It *can* suffer from understeer if driven a bit-hamfistedly, but you learn to use the power delivery - Slow-in, fast-out in one gear higher than "normal" and it covers ground very impressively.

Driving ergonomics are mixed, the seats comfy, the view out is lousy. it is very wide, very wide indeed and accurate reversing is a bit of a lottery. I can't see the front corners, either. So it's great on wide-open roads, but fussy and tricky on narrow B roads. The ride is sublime, I suspect the super-stiff cell and very low CoG (batteries in the floor) means it can follow the Lotus approach to accurate but light damping.

Internal space is impressive if you use the rear seats rather than the rear bin, which will cook stuff anyway - a week away is very doable for a couple. Doors are fine, they actually need less space to open than, say, a Vantage but you do need the 12-18 inch gap to open them fully otherwise you can't get in. At all. Badly parked SUVs with big mirrors are my biggest issue.

It should not be your first "proper" sports car, I think you have to ignore the numbers, skinny tyres and it's MINI engine - simply appreciate it for what it is. A rapid, low-cost, GT car. The public reaction is very positive (unlike my Porker), similar in terms to when I had my Aston. Most regular folks don't know what it is - and despite the number sold they are still achingly rare on the road.

Do I care the engine is from a MINI? No. Do I care (or even notice) the piped engine sound? No. Do I care that other cars have better 0-60 times or higher top speeds? No. The i8 is a carbon-tubbed, gull-winged, 4 seat, GT hybrid that costs buttons to run and 5 years after it's launch it still looks like it's from the future. More so than any 911 or R8, or Conti - they all seem distinctly last-century in comparison, dinosaurs.

Depreciation can be criminal, I ordered mine in late '15 and got a tiny discount (I think I paid £110k) - but I did get a £45k tax rebate/WDA at the time, meaning it's not been as bad as an equivalent Porky. Depreciation crystalises on sale and I've not sold it yet - I planned to keep mine for a couple of years - 4 and a half years later I can't think what I might change it for. I suspect it will become a keeper for a good while still to come.