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Chris Harris Test Drives the BMW i8 Hybrid

by Kenny Hoeschen

In this video, Chris Harris of /DRIVE takes the carbon fiber plug-in hybrid BMW i8 for a 24-hour trip around the streets of Los Angeles. The i8 is powered by the combination of a 231hp 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine (adapted from the new MINI) and a 96kw electric motor, for a total 362hp. At just 3,274 pounds, the i8 can go from 0-to-60 mph in 4.4 seconds with a limited top speed of 150 mph.

To begin with, Harris is very impressed with the i8’s technology, finish, and design, but the real question is, what does he think when he gets it on the road? On the winding roads in the canyons outside of town, he finds the car to be surprisingly fast and the torque fill from the electric motor works amazingly well. The car’s engine and exhaust sounds are reminiscent of a Porsche 911; but it’s important to remember that the engine and exhaust sound in the i8 is augmented artificially by the car’s sound system. He also finds that the car feels a bit disconnected from the road itself and doesn’t feel quite like a true sports car. However, he then takes the i8 back into the city for some all-electric driving (and an In-N-Out Burger Double-Double Animal Style) and really enjoys the car’s futuristic design and eye-catching appearance.

We suggest watching the entire video since Harris has some great insights into the car and how he thinks it works as a very sporty hybrid, considering it may be targeting drivers who are currently behind the wheel of a 911.

The BMW i8 is priced starting at $136,625(USD), although there’s no official word on when it will be available in the U.S.

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