I closed out 2021 looking at the birth of BMW’s “real” M-car legacy with the M6, since the M1 was pretty much unattainable. It seems fitting to start of 2022 with BMW’s foray into electrification, then. One could argue that the reinvention of the 8-series moniker was a disservice to the original; I disagree. The E31 pioneered a new frontier for BMW, with electronics, a new design language and took BMW to a different market. There is no more fitting designation than the i8 in my mind. The slinky, futuristic coupe utilizes lightweight construction to keep the curb weight down; 3,200 lbs may not sound particularly lightweight, but keep in mind that the BRZ/FR-S twins were lauded for their light design and are only a few hundred pounds less without all of the heavy electric equipment and twin motors. Pushing the very aerodynamic lithe coupe are two motors that run together or separately – a 1.5 liter turbocharged inline-3 paired with a smaller version of the i3’s electric motor. The results of this combination are pretty astounding; a combined 357 horsepower results in 60 miles an hour in 3.8 seconds and a near effortless limited 155 m.p.h. top speed. Couple that with the ability to drive for around 20 miles with no assistance from the gasoline motor and return mid-40 mpgs, and the 911-like performance is truly impressive. No other car has yet come close to the combination of attributes the i8 offers.
When these cars rolled out now bordering on seven years ago, MSRP was thrown to the wind and dealer invoices rang in some $70,000 over sticker, with near $220,000 asking prices. While the i8 and i3 introduced BMW’s electric intentions, their more recent and impending offerings like the i4 are decidedly more mainstream. So for a bit more than the price of a loaded i4 M50, you can get into a much more exciting used i8, like today’s Protonic Blue Metallic example equipped with the Pure Impulse World package: