In our new series Flat-Out Films, we team up with the fantastic Comex Visuals to bring automotive stories to life. So stick the kettle on, sit back and enjoy the flick. Don’t forget to let us know what you think.
Stare at the i8 long enough and elements of one of BMW’s most mythical models start to bubble up through the futuristic lines, dihedral doors and myriad aerodynamic cutaways.
The M1, which was first assembled in the late 1970s by the hands of Lamborghini engineers, was arguably one of the finest supercars of its time. Sporting a bleeding edge tubular frame and fibreglass body, it was said to be the first real performance machine that could comfortably be driven every day.
A chassis developed for racing, a 3.5-litre engine capable of propelling the unmistakeable Giorgetto Giugiaro wedge-like design from 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds and a ride that was just as happy in stop/start traffic as it was on the open road.
It is a shame, then, that production and financial woes lead to the early demise of this handsome unicorn. Just 430 units were ever made and to this day, it remains one of the most coveted BMW M cars.
But much of the M1’s character lives on in the suitably futuristic i8 hybrid machine, which is getting on for four years old now but still feels as important today as it did at launch.
In this short film with our partners over at Comex Visuals, we explore all facets of life with this very modern everyday supercar. From its fascinating 1.5-litre turbocharged engine and 98kW electric motor powertrain to the comfort and convenience of a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger tub.
A quick reminder for all those that may have forgotten why the i8 felt so important when it was first thrust into the limelight in 2014: the combined 357hp max output of the 1.5-litre Mini engine and the hybrid synchronous motor was enough to propel the lithe machine from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds.
But it wasn’t just the straight-line performance that caught the eye of many, it was the forward-thinking production methods (additive manufacturing played a big part in the early concepts), the use of recyclable or reclaimed materials inside the cabin and clever use of CFRP to reduce weight and improve aerodynamic efficiency.
Plug the i8 into a standard wall socket and it’s possible to charge the 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack in just a few hours, resulting in a near-silent all-electric range of 20-miles or so.
It might not boast the same headline-grabbing performance stats as the McLaren P1, the Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918, but the BMW i8 certainly feels like it should be mentioned in any conversation surrounding the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the supercar world.
As you will see in the film, a week with the BMW i8 Coupe provided plenty of thrills and spills, but it left us with an overarching sense of having driven something important.
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