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BMW launches the i8 hybrid sportscar in India

Remember the car that went berserk in the streets of Mumbai in the Hollywood blockbuster Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol? Ah yes, we’re referring to the white BMW prototype that Tom Cruise piloted in the movie and left us ogling. Well, you can now go ogle at it in a showroom near you and, if your pockets run deep, buy one of them too.


Yes, BMW India launched the i8 hybrid supercar yesterday at an all-India ex-showroom price of INR 2.29 Crore, making it the most-expensive model in the company’s Indian lineup. To be imported as a Completely Built Unit (CBU), the i8 marks the entry of BMW’s tech-savvy, hybrid-only ‘i’ sub-brand in India and would be sold through special i dealerships in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

The main power source for the i8 is a 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged gasoline engine that generates 228 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 3,700 rpm. This Internal Combustion engine is complimented by an electric motor that produces 129 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. While the gasoline engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and drives the rear wheels, the electric motor is coupled to a 2-speed automatic transmission and propels the front axle. 

When combined together, the i8’s power and torque figures read 357 bhp and 570 Nm, good enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds. According to BMW, the i8 has a range of 35 km and a top speed of 120 km/h in pure battery power with those numbers increasing to 600 km and 250 km/h when both the gasoline engine and the electric motor work together. Combined fuel efficiency is claimed to be 45 km/l, making this 2.5-crore sportscar the most frugal car on sale in India.


On top of all that substance lies an eye-catching design. Characterized by a menacing, low-slung appearance, the i8 has a host of design elements that vie for attention like the glossy black BMW kidney grille with characteristic ‘i’ blue highlights, the ‘black belt’ that runs the entire length of the car from the hood, the sporty scissor doors, the unique shoulder lines that creep up from the bottom of the door on either sides, the floating C-pillars, the contoured skirts and the two-tone rear bumper. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are standard fare in all the lighting elements and an optional laser beam technology would also be made available in future. Tasteful blue highlights indicating the car’s i lineage are abundant and add flair to the overall styling.

The sporty and futuristic approach is carried over to the interiors too. A fully digital Multi Information Display sits in place of the regular instrument cluster while an interplay of textures and surfaces gives the cabin an interesting appearance. Many parts of the i8 use advanced, light-weight and recycled materials with strong focus placed on sustainability. The body is made up of two distinct components. While the aluminium chassis, the electric motor, the internal combustion engine and the battery pack form the Drive module, the Life module comprises of an ultra-light passenger cell made up of high-strength carbon-fiber composite. 

Three driving modes – Comfort, Eco Pro and Sport, are on offer. While the Comfort and Eco Pro modes allow pure electric driving at the press of an ‘e-Drive’ button, the Sport mode is all about flat-out power complete with paddle shifters. As with other cars from the BMW stable, a host of driver assistant technologies including city collision warning with automatic braking and Surround View and Side View camera systems are available in the i8. ‘Regenerative charging’ through energy recovered during acceleration and braking in hybrid mode and ‘plug-in charging’ through the BMW i Wall Box are both possible.


With loads of style, substance, power and efficiency, the BMW i8 is more of a halo car for the German luxury brand. If you are one of those privileged few with crores in bank deposits and a keen eye for cars, you know what to do now.

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