BMW i8 2015
The last time BMW built a dedicated sports car positioned above the Z4 (and before that, theZ3), it built the Z8. With power from the E39 M5’s V8 and styling heavily inspired by the classic 507 of the 1950s, the limited production Z8 was – and is, if the way they’ve held their value is any indication – highly coveted. Of course, that’s the whole idea behind a “halo car.”
However, the world has changed since production of the Z8 (and the automatic-transmission-equipped Alpina V8 Roadster that was based on it) ended about a decade ago. Retro styling and throaty naturally-aspirated engines are out; forward-looking design and smaller forced-induction engines and/or hybrid drive are in. So BMW, never one to like appearing to be behind the times, has incorporated all of those en vogue features in its new technological (if not performance and price) flagship, the 2015 i8.
Yes, we’ve been seeing the i8 making the rounds on the auto show circuit for a few years now, but that was just in concept form. Surely there was no way the production version would look as radical…was there? Well it turns out that’s pretty much exactly the case. The snout, with the brand’s iconic twin-nostril grille, is unmistakably BMW, but with some twists, like bright blue accents and a black band atop the hood that extends over the roof and onto the rear fascia. The black and blue extends onto the rocker panels, which each lie below a crypto-gullwing door. The flanks feature “floating” C-pillars, U-shaped taillights and, again, black and light blue trim. The basic shape doesn’t break much new ground, but the details are a significant departure from the norm.