This is my second i8. I leased a 2019 for 14 months (lease takeover) and loved it. I was cross-shopping AMG GT, Bentley Continental GT, 911, Taycan, Vantage and Tesla Model S.
My decision was based on my needs...
I'm a car guy. I love exotics, but I'm also aware of fossil fuel issues and don't want to look back as part of the problem. So I wanted it all, an exotic with fuel efficiency, four seats, mid-engine, modern technology, and not a car with millions of iterations (like the 911).
To drive, it's fascinating and not in a way I expected. To start with I was trying to get close to the Car and Driver 0-60 of 3.6s, but after a while, I was more interested in the fuel economy. Weirdly, I bought a car to go fast without being terrible for the environment, but in the end, I didn't want to go as fast as I wanted to see my mpg nudge up, which it did if I charged it regularly (presently I'm running at an average of 38mpg and climbing). I still accelerate fast, and pop it into sport when I need the supercar acceleration, but mostly I use it, day to day as the most enjoyable, engaging car I've owned. I've owned sub 4 second cars for a while, and some are more thrilling, but like I said, I wanted it all.
So, the usual complaints:
Too much plastic inside the car? Well, maybe, slightly, but look at the specs, and the environmentally friendly materials involved are staggering, and the unique carbon fiber and leather and stitching everywhere is an achievement to say the least. The interior is gorgeous, as is the subtle interior lighting, and still feels way more modern than the competitors, apart from the Mercedes maybe, and obviously the Tycan.
Not a real supercar? Well, you decide: carbon fiber tub, no derivative versions (like the 911), sub 4s 0-60, eagle wing doors, mid engine, and such a low center of gravity that it sticks to the road like glue, even with tires that are fat compared to the Tesla, but thin compared to the Porsche.
Less road feel. Yes, compared to the 911 (I used to have a 2013 GTS) it's no comparison. The 911 is the most engaging drive, I think, in the world, so I was amazed that I didn't miss it.
I think the reviewers who look at this car have nothing to compare it to. The supercar stats are all 2 seaters that burn fuel at 4-6x that of the i8. The electric comparisons have none of the thrills, looks, or most importantly to me, the hybrid practicality.
The only comparisons, really are either the NSX (hybrid supercar) but it has 1/3 the fuel economy and only two seats) but faster, or the P100d or Tycan 4s (faster but no hybrid, 4 door saloon, and well, you see 100 every day in Los Angeles)
So you see, there isn't really a comparison, at least, not for me. This review isn't really designed to convince you to buy this car, more to understand the reason it's without doubt the best car... for me.
BTW, my best 0-60 on the street, on a hot day, with Pirellis was 3.9s 0-60, and I nearly killed myself doing it. Instead, I'll use the power to get on the freeway, and surprise the Ferrari California that I'm faster than in the real world.
Also, my 5'9 15 yr old fits in the back just fine for short journeys (<30m). 5'6" is the magic number for comfort in the back, but for shopping, you can fit 10 full bags from Trader Joes, and more in the trunk.
The BMW i8 is a weird and brilliant car and that's why, in 15 years, it will probably be a collector's car worth more than anyone paid for it. Everyone looks at it (every day, even in 2022, people can't help it), but you won't be able to help seeing how little fuel you're burning as you hit sixty in under 4 seconds.
Not for everyone, but definitely for me.