Batmobile takes you to the future

2015-03-15 07:30

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Did you have trouble finding a date for the matric farewell? Is your friend always going home with the hottie, leaving you behind? Well, if you have R1.7 million to spare, all that could change in an instant.

Just buy yourself BMW’s latest plug-in hybrid supercar, the immaculately constructed BMW i8. It will have people swooning and drooling. Yes, it is THAT good-looking.

The i8 is pure sex on wheels. We were on the receiving end of laser beam-like stares as we drove, and once we parked and opened those scissor doors, jaws dropped and the phone cameras started to flash. People walk right up to you, start a conversation and proceed to take photos.

The i8 is extremely strong and light, thanks to carbon fibre reinforced plastic body panels and an aluminium chassis. Getting in and out is slightly more challenging. Because it’s a sports car, the i8 is very close to the ground. I was wearing a loose-fitting dress and managed not to flash anyone, but a tight skirt is definitely not an option.

The breathtakingly stylish interior has a clean, fluid, hi-tech yet very organic feel to it, and everything seems to cocoon itself around you. You may as well be teleported to a parallel universe in the distant future. Even the key fob is slim and sexy, and it looks like it could activate an alien spacecraft.

Once you keylessly start her up, there’s no engine noise, and as you pull away, a silent electric whoosh ensues.

The Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button dictate which system(s) will power the i8. On electric power alone, the i8 has a range of 37km and will reach speeds of up to 120km an hour. Switch to more fiery Sport mode, and you’ll have a combined 266kW available from all systems to play with.

Fuel economy is not nearly as fantastic as BMW boasts, but at the launch, ours attained a figure of 9 litres per 100km, which, for a supercar that accelerates from zero to 100 in 4.4 seconds, is not bad at all.

Driving it also feels no different than driving a “normal” BMW, although once you have it in Sport mode, you have to drive it with the steering-mounted shift paddles. That’s when you’ll be able to fully appreciate the engine’s sound, which has been augmented to sound more throaty, like a traditional sports car.

So, as charging points aren’t available everywhere yet, what do you do if the i8’s battery needs recharging? BMW offers you the fastest-charging wall box in the world, priced at R25 000. The whole process can be monitored and controlled remotely by means of the BMW i Remote app for smartphones. Better yet, drive the hell out of the i8 on the Sport setting. The harder it’s driven, the more it charges the battery.

I’m sold on its rock-star looks alone. I wonder how much a healthy kidney will fetch on the internet...


BMW i3 – R525 000

BMW i3 with range extender – R595 000

BMW i8 – R1 755 000

CO2 tax – none.

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