When you’re an auto maker with ridged traditions demanded by your buyers, it’s hard to move outside of that niche. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe i8 stands BMW tradition on it head. Let’s see what that rebellion might be worth.
If you don’t really want something, does its unattainability even matter? Yesterday’s 2003 Suzuki Every was a Kei Van denied to both the U.S. and Canada during its model run. Canada’s more lenient (15-year vs. 25-year) import restrictions mean its now legal up North, while it’s still verboten in the States. At around $7,000 U.S., that inaccessibility seemed to matter not a whit, as the VW-emulating van fell in a 68 percent Crack Pipe loss. Or maybe, it was just spite.
The U.S. has long been denied interesting cars that other countries received as a matter of course. BMW’s first mid-engine road car, the Giugiaro designed M1 never officially came here. It was up to private parties to eventually do the deed. Even after coming of age to meet the Federal standards, it’s still persona non grata here in California without it having passed the B.A.R. exam.
Today however, things have changed. Car companies have realized that the economics of selling cars in a market the size of the United States can oftentimes outweigh the costs of certifying them to do so. That has led to BMW’s latest mid-engine super car getting an official U.S. model, and today we’re going to look at just such an i8 hybrid to see how it does on the used car market.
The ad for this 2014 BMW i8 says it comes in “Sophisto Grey with Frozen Grey accents.” That comes down to it being dark grey in some places, and darker grey in others. If you can think of a more boring color scheme, I’d like to hear it.
Fortunately, the i8’s bodywork makes any color superfluous to its excitement. There is perhaps no sexier hybrid on the market. There is certainly no BMW with as aggressively futuristic lines.
The i8 and its i3 sibling share a basic concept—that being an electric drivetrain powered by a small battery. Where they diverge is in the availability of an on-board gas-powered generator and how many motors power the wheels. The range extending gas engine on the i3 is an option and is comprised of a small horizontally-opposed twin.
The unit on the i8 is standard and is a more robust 1.5-litre turbocharged inline triple. That feeds a small 7.1 kWh battery pack that fills the center console rather than under the floor as in the i3.
Both the gas engine and the electric motor sit just forward of the rear axle, while another electric motor sits up front and powers the front wheels. All together the car can claim 369 horsepower and a traveling distance of about 18 miles on whisper quiet electric power alone.
That’s not all that great, and honestly, the i8 isn’t supercar quick either. A Tesla Model 3 will mop the floor with the i8 in a drag race, and carry four in more comfort while doing so to boot.
The i8 is a four seater—well, 2+2-Legs if we’re being honest. The rear seats are tiny and recall the mini-thrones of such classic mid-enginers as the Ferrari 308GT4 and Maserati Merak.
I don’t recall, but I don’t think either the Ferrari nor the Maser ever offered blue seatbelts. The i8 does, and those accent an interior awash in more blue trim. The rest is black and brown leather and plastic. It all looks to be in excellent shape here. The car’s unique carbon fiber “life-modul” is evident as you open the butterfly doors. And you’ll be thinking about that every time you try to climb in or out over the car’s impressively high sills. Ladies wearing miniskirts be forewarned. Actually, man too.
The exterior of this 29,023-mile Bimmer looks as-new clean in the pics. The private seller says it’s been protected with an Xpel clear bra on the nose to keep it so. It’s also said to come with an equally clean title. There is no word on how much tire is left on the car however, and at nearly 30K on the clock you’d expect the 215 45R 20s up front and 245 40R 20s in back to be ready for refreshment if they haven’t already been replaced.
What is averred is that the car’s $63,750 asking price is below book value, whatever that means in today’s fast-moving market. The original MSRP was deep into six figures and a new one, albeit with a bigger battery and more electric range, will still set you back something similar.
That makes this a bargain, right? Well, that’s just what we’re here to find out. What do you think, is this i8 worth that $63,750 asking? Or, is that just too much for so little range?
H/T to Fauxshizzle for the hookup!
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