The BMW i8 is a high-performance hybrid that utilizes a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and electric motor that deliver a combined 357 peak horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque. The i8 combines this powertrain with all-wheel drive and a lightweight structure to achieve impressive performance numbers for a hybrid sportscar.
The BMW i8 reaches 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds, largely due to its ample torque and unusual all-wheel drive system, in which the electric motors drive the front wheels and the gasoline engine drives the rear tires. Top speed is electronically-limited at 155 mph. Despite its impressive performance numbers, the i8 maintains good fuel economy, achieving an estimated 28 miles per gallon in combined driving. The i8 can also run on electric power alone for approximately 15 miles at a top speed of 75 miles per hour.
Another factor underlying the i8's performance numbers is its lightweight structure, composed of aluminum, hardened glass and a carbon-fiber chassis. Even when accounting for the large battery pack and electric motor, the i8 is only 10 pounds heavier than a contemporary BMW 3 Series compact. It is not as roomy as most versions of the 3 Series, however, as the i8 is a two plus two coupe rather than a four seater.