Back in 2014, when BMW launched the i8, it was billed as the future of the supercar. With a planet-saving 1.5-litre three-cylinder motor being a far cry from the straight sixes and V8s of its rivals, its output was aided by a lithium ion-powered electric motor; a set up which propelled the 1,560kg car to 62mph in just 4.4 seconds.
In the five years since, the concept of electrification has certainly become far more prevalent in the segment, although its application hasn't always precisely aligned with what the i8 envisaged. It's a sign of just how far ahead of the curve that car was that, with many rival manufacturers still only discussing the potential of the technology in their future products, the i8 has already reached the end of its lifespan.
The run-out model, dubbed the 'Ultimate Sophisto Edition' will see i8 production conclude in April next year. With its dark paint and subtle accents, it presents a far more sophisticated vision of the car than we've yet seen. And on the flip side of that coin is this: the i8 Roadster LimeLight Edition.
The roadster, despite being based on the same underpinnings as the aging coupe, is a significantly newer proposition. It was only launched last year, but really seemed to fulfil the car's potential by adding that open-air element to its subtle power and striking looks.
Presented at the Alcantara Concept Store in Milan, the LimeLight Edition of the car is the result of a collaboration between BMW Italy and Alcantara's own designers. As you might expect, it's covered in swathes of the suede-like material, which is supposedly relevant to the i8 not just thanks to its implied sportiness but its shared eco-credentials too. While the hybrid has long been touted as a stepping stone towards more sustainable motoring, Alcantara became the first Italian company to achieve certified carbon-neutral status in 2009, with each square meter of the product boasting a net CO2 balance of zero.
To that end, alternating black and lime Alcantara sections cover the seats, dashboard, door panels and steering wheel, peppered with laser-cut holes to create a design inspired by the propeller of the BMW logo. Throw in the lime contrast stitching and, of course, the lime paint which coats every inch of the exterior and the effect is, well, bold. It seems that the i8 isn't content to slip into the history books quite so subtly after all.