Used 2016 BMW i8 Base Coupe Review

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 BMW i8 Base Coupe.

Most helpful consumer reviews

This can be your dream made true
Oscar A,02/21/2017
2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A)
My first review of the BMW i8 happened after the first 2-week "break in period". Then honestly, I was influenced for the "new-toy syndrome". However, I feel that I was objective and centered in my review. The i8 is actually surprisingly comfortable in a fair comparison with other cars in its line. Even after 2 years running in the city, people can’t stop turning their head when it goes around and lock eyes on it. Although easy entries and exits are not an option, the wing doors give some strange elegance to this almost awkward act of magic with the car. But, once inside, those doubts on daily drivability fade to a great enjoyment of driving experience and a lot of attention of all eyes around you. Aside from drawing all the stares (not a trivial thing - to the point I started using my other ride (LEAF) more and more just to avoid it) this car is very unique in more than one item. To begging with, the i8 continues to be the first car in the U.S. equipped with laser beams - yes, laser headlamps giving an output of pure-white light generated by laser-excited phosphorous - totally safe for oncoming motorists (in case you were wondering). The package with this feature will add $6300 to an already eye-opening price, but oh well, for high-beams that are 1000 times more intense than LEDs you can stretch a little. These new lights are even more energy-efficient than LEDs and are only for use as a supplemental high-beam that activates above 43 mph; the regular low-beams and the high-beams below 43 mph are regular LEDs. The 2016 i8 is a hybrid car. It uses a 3-cylinder turbo to power the rear wheels and an electric motor powers in synch the front wheels. Only when using the relatively small 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack alone, what the EPA calls “charge-depleting” mode, will the i8 approach its EPA electricity-plus-gasoline combined rating of 76 MPGe. But, I assure you this will be for a very short sweet electric drive. In reality, the i8 averages 38 MPGe assuming 200-mile ride at 75-mph highway trip for which the first 16 miles are completed using only electric drive. Now, what everyone wants to know: how would the i8 makes the exit, leaving all hearts beating at higher rate? Well in simple words: FAST, very fast! This car accelerates like a solid-fuel rocket when eBoost mode is engaged by pressing the accelerator pedal through the kickdown switch. It delivers the kind of sustained acceleration that others have compared to the Porsche 911 Turbo. To be totally honest, that feeling is not the breaking point for me. I am more the sweet ride type of guy. With that in mind, I can tell you that driven without aggression, the i8 feels like a normal car for a routine cruising, capable of meandering through traffic like an ordinary family sedan, at least to the extent that those gaping at it allow. There’s great visibility outward, considering how low the car is, so maneuvering around the gawkers is easy. The narrow Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires, 215/45R-20 in front and 245/40R-20 in back, don’t hum on the freeway the way the wide meats do on, say, a Chevy Corvette. The i8 generates 72 decibels of noise at 70 mph—not luxury-sedan quiet but 4 decibels do make a difference when sustaining a conversation in the cabin at 70 mph. As a plug-in hybrid, the i8’s front electric motor is strong enough to propel the car all by its lonesome. In the Normal driving mode, most movement begins with only the front motor operating. Occasionally, the three-cylinder engine feels slow to kick in and deliver the intersection-clearing thrust all sport cars enthusiasts seek. Silently creeping into lanes of cross-traffic can raise concerns with unprepared passengers. Moving the shifter over to Sport mode keeps the engine fired and makes gap-shooting feel less eventful. But if you do drive in Sport mode, then be ready to add a few decibels of noise coming for the speakers in concierto with the acceleration and displacement. There are four seats, but the rears are just laughable pads more suited to cushion a football-stadium bench than to transport guests in a $150,000 car, and the space is itself hospitable only for small children, and let me stress that word "SMALL". The front seats, however, are extremely comfortable, firm, and supportive in all the right spots to allow long days in the saddle, although they lack the bolstering to complement the 0.95 g that the car can generate in corners. The buckets are mounted deep in a well, so there’s plenty of body structure to brace oneself against. In hindsight, the BMW i8 is an awesome car for younger generations, worthy of its astronomical price (wrongly targeting the middle-age men with 6-number salary) wanting to feel the adrenaline rush of the speed, the sweet ride of an exotic piece and the stare of many everywhere it goes.
Good - but could have been so much better
i8 Bellevue WA,06/09/2017
2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A)
First the good – and there is a lot of good in the i8: Looks – great looker, and people love to see this on the street. Doors – this does not get much cooler than that. Exposed carbon, electric locks, kids (and adults) go crazy with this kind of stuff. Overall lines of the car are great very futuristic and a joy to look at every day. And the “open space airflow" below the trunk? My wife told me three times the trunk was open when I took her out the first time. Same goes for the interior - functional, good looking and to the point. Lastly – do love the concept of “power on demand”. You can be chilling on battery, taking it easy and if you need to – flip it to the left and you got some serious ooooompf…. Love it. Now the rest of it: Power .. Power … Power…: The car is too slow. Well – I guess it is ok when you compare it to some regular cars but it is definitely not when I compare it to my Nissan GTR or 911 Turbo. It is a 4 second car, where it should have been a 2 second car. It is not an “economical car” – not with 18 miles of battery range (never once had it at 20 as promised), and it is not a really fast car either – not with 1.5 liter in the back. Who was BMW competing with building this? Their own M3? I don’t think the M3 folks are target buyers of this car anyways. So I do think they missed the mark here. They should have competed with the 911 Turbo, with the GTR, with the McLaren and the likes. I8 has everything going for it except the power to be a supercar except power. I don’t think I will ever use the rear seats – nor anyone else I know that would. Get them out, make some flat storage area there and put a 500+hp 6 in the back instead of the 1.5 liter. Same with the little trunk in the back – don’t need the damn thing if I can get 3 additional cylinders instead. So the verdict is – put a big 6 in the back, get 700-800hp total of the complete setup and sell it for 175-190k. As of right now – I am not going to keep it when the lease expires. Hope the next 911 turbo is a hybrid and it is done right. Reliability: Well - standard BMW per my experience. i.e. – it will break, question is how bad. So far had it in the shop for fuel tank valve replacement. Damn thing would not let me open the fuel tank! Imagine you are coming to the gas station no battery no fuel and the cap would not open!! Super upset... Actually stopped buying BMWs about 10 years back based on their desire to always be in the shop. Guess they are still figuring this out.
Rocket i8
Richard Kastner,03/17/2019
2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A)
The guy before said he didn’t buy cause he couldn’t get in or out, he’s full of it, it’s actually pretty easy to do once you’ve done it. I just don’t think he can afford it, either way this car is insane and fun to drive, the amount of attention is crazy, definitely a head turner. Yes it’s not a super car but it’s still a pretty damn fast futuristic sexy car.. Very quiet in electric mode but as soon as you kick it to Sport it’s over... The looks by itself is worth it, especially the doors. Time to ride the i8...
Fun to drive but no fun to exit
2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A)
This car is great fun to drive and looks sexy but it's really hard to get into and even harder to get out of. I was going to buy it until I got in and out a few times and my back was already sore. There aren't many of seat adjustments to make it more comfortable either. Bought a Jaguar F-type instead.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2016 BMW i8 Base Coupe

Pros & Cons

  • Exceptional performance for a hybrid
  • exceptional fuel economy for a sports car
  • futuristic design.
  • Futuristic price
  • can't match the performance of similarly priced non-hybrid sports cars.

Full Edmunds Review: 2016 BMW i8 Coupe

Offering sports car performance, miserly fuel economy and quick charge times, the 2015 BMW i8 redefines what a hybrid can be.

Vehicle overview

BMW knows a thing or two about building cars that combine good looks and performance. With the plug-in hybrid 2016 BMW i8, stunning eco-friendly technology has been added to the mix. Able to sprint to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, the exotic i8 also boasts 15 miles of electric-only range and a total range of 330 miles on combined electric and gasoline power. In other words, the i8 is a great fit for just about any combination of driving demands.

The 2016 BMW i8 is a sporty plug-in hybrid with the sleek shape of a supercar.

The magic happens by way of a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. This dynamic team cranks out 357 horsepower and channels it to all four wheels. Despite that formidable output, the car manages to deliver fuel economy approaching 30 mpg. When the time comes, recharging the i8's battery pack can take as little as 1.5 hours.

With its low, sleek body styling and unique scissor-lift doors, the 2016 BMW i8 pretty much guarantees that you'll make grand entrances and departures wherever you go. Inside, the i8 uses recycled materials and naturally treated leather, but the overall vibe is ultra-modern, highlighted by dynamic contours and high-tech gauges. The tiny rear seats, however, are best thought of as additional cargo space, which you'll likely need given the trunk's meager capacity.

If you're looking for other performance cars with green credentials, the Tesla Model S probably comes closest. It's purely electric, though, so you lose the gas-powered flexibility of the BMW; also, the Tesla is a large four-door hatchback, so it's a much different beast from behind the wheel. The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid like the i8, and its EV range and fuel-economy numbers are competitive, but again, it's a large four-door hatchback, not a sports car. Ultimately, for the plug-in fan seeking sexy two-door styling as well as sizzling performance and admirable efficiency, the 2016 BMW i8 stands alone.

2016 BMW i8 models

The 2016 BMW i8 is a two-door, plug-in hybrid sports car with 2+2 seating. It comes in a single trim level.

Standard features include 20-inch wheels; an adjustable suspension; LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights, running lights and taillights); automatic headlights and wipers; front and rear parking sensors; a top-view camera system; auto-dimming mirrors; keyless entry and ignition; leather upholstery; six-way power heated front seats; a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; memory settings; and a head-up display.

The 2016 i8 might have the coolest key fob in the business.

Other standard electronics features include a navigation system, BMW's iDrive electronics interface (with an 8.8-inch central display screen), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW Assist and Online and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a USB port, satellite radio and HD radio. Also included are BMW Apps (smartphone-app integration) and BMW Remote Services (which allows Apple and Android users to lock the car remotely and turn on the climate control, among various other tasks).

There are two optional trim packages available, known as Worlds. Giga World includes turbine-style wheels, upgraded LED headlights and extended and perforated leather upholstery. Tera World throws in some special interior trim, including unique cloth and leather upholstery. Note that the default package is called Mega World; it's included in the base price.

Newly optional for 2016 are BMW's Laserlight headlamps, which are available with all three World packages.

2016 Highlights

For 2016, the BMW i8 gets optional laser lights.

Performance & mpg

The i8 employs a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a 7.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The gas engine drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, while the electric motor powers the front wheels through an integrated two-speed automatic. When working together, the two combine to provide 357 horsepower, 420 pound-feet of torque and all-wheel drive.

Although the 2016 BMW i8 falls short of supercar performance, it's still a very quick car.

During Edmunds testing, a European-spec i8 sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a very quick time that's nonetheless eclipsed by a number of non-hybrid sports cars on the market.

The 2016 i8's battery pack can be fully recharged at home through a standard 120-volt garage outlet in about 3.5 hours. Upgrade to a 240-volt charger (or visit a public "Level 2" charging station) and you can trim that down to about 1.5 hours.

EPA energy-efficiency estimates for the i8 include 15 miles of electric-only range and a combined (city/highway) fuel economy rating of 28 mpg when the gas engine comes into play. Total driving range is estimated at 330 miles. The EPA also rated the i8 at 76 MPGe, factoring in both gas and electric operation.


The BMW i8 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard are BMW Assist emergency communications (includes automatic crash notification, stolen-vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance) as well as parking sensors and an around-view camera system.

At the Edmunds test track, the i8 came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet.


Around town, the 2016 BMW i8 feels pretty normal. The accelerator is smooth and linear while the brake pedal's action is progressive and natural, without the hardness or "wooden" character of other regenerative braking systems. The hybrid powertrain never feels winded, as the electric motor's instant torque covers nicely for the small turbocharged engine while the latter spools up to make its contribution.

As one of the few production cars with so-called scissor doors, the 2016 i8 excites even before you get in.

You'll also notice the unique sound of the i8 while driving, which is no accident. In EV mode, it's eerily silent except for the keening sound of the electric motor and regenerative brakes. Once the engine comes into play, however, an electronic noise actuator under the rear deck lid performs a duet with specially designed sounds emitted from the stereo's rear speakers (whether it's switched on or not). In some ways, it's the opposite of active noise cancellation, but the result is a cool augmented-reality experience that you won't soon forget.

The i8 also delivers stellar handling thanks to its nearly 50/50 weight distribution, a low, centrally mounted battery pack and dual powertrains that essentially make this plug-in hybrid an all-wheel-drive performance car. The adjustable suspension allows drivers to tailor the car's handling and ride dynamics to their liking. The base setting is only slightly firm in town, but Sport can cross the line into jarring discomfort on sketchy surfaces. Push the car hard in the sort of driving Sport was intended for, however, and this firmer setting comes into its own, absorbing large bumps and small ripples with apparent ease while keeping the car stable around turns.


Getting into the i8 requires a bit of choreography once you've swung the scissor door up and away. You'll have to step over a high and wide sill, so the best way to get in is to sit on the sill, swing a leg over, allow your backside to slip into the seat and then follow with the other leg. It's not hard once you master the move, but you'll need to duck under the bottom edge of the door at the same time.

The 2016 i8's dashboard trades traditional BMW styling cues for a festival of futuristic curves and slashes.

Once inside the i8, you'll find a multi-tiered and layered cockpit design that uses recycled materials and naturally treated leather for upholstery and panel surfaces. The power seats offer good support and long-distance comfort, and even taller drivers will have headroom to spare. The center stack is canted toward the driver, putting everything close at hand. The shifter and various mode switches are close by, too, and each selection changes the background color and gauge layout in the main instrument pod.

Despite the "2+2" moniker, this is essentially a two-seater, as those rear seats are tiny with scant headroom, and as such are best considered auxiliary luggage space. You'll need it, too, since the trunk is rated at a paltry 5.4 cubic feet.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2016 BMW i8 in Virginia is:

$107.25 per month*