2019 BMW i8 Coupe
- More power and EV range this year
- New convertible model
- Part of the first i8 generation introduced for 2014
- Excellent integration of powertrain and in-car technology
- Futuristic design turns plenty of heads
- Difficult to get in and out of
- Performance lags behind competitors
Which i8 does Edmunds recommend
Edmunds' Expert Review
In almost every way, the 2019 BMW i8 is a supercar. Its outrageous and futuristic styling draws looks from down the block, its wild flip-up doors announce your presence whenever they're opened, and the entirety of BMW's performance catalog is crammed into its low-slung carbon-composite frame. Yet, it also goes one step further — it's also a green-oriented car.
The i8 has a plug-in hybrid powertrain that's used to generate both impressive performance and high fuel economy. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine produces 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and drives the rear wheels. An electric motor that peaks at 141 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque drives the front wheels. In total, the i8 develops a total of 369 hp. Powering the motor is an 11.6-kWh battery, which allows the i8 to go up to 18 miles in pure electric mode. But mainly, it's used to fill in gaps in torque from the small engine and augment traction coming out of corners.
Two body styles are available for the 2019 i8: a 2+2 coupe and a new soft-top convertible. Unsurprisingly, the coupe's rear seats are small and ideal for kids, or kids at heart. The convertible model forgoes the rear seats and uses an electric system to enable the top to fold or deploy in about 15 seconds. It can even do it while the car is in motion at speeds of up to 30 mph.
There's just one problem. Supercars are known for their bold appearances and outrageous performance, but the i8 comes up a little short on the latter. It has a top speed of 155 mph and a claimed 0-60 mph acceleration time of 4.2 seconds. Those are certainly fun-inducing numbers, but they're nowhere near what similarly priced sports cars can do. Handling capability is also underwhelming for the class.
If all you're looking for are performance numbers, the i8 is probably not the car for you. Instead, consider the i8 a rolling technology showcase, one that shows that a complete reliance on fossil fuels for propulsion is not needed to have a good time.
trim levels & features
The 2019 BMW i8 is available as a coupe or soft-top convertible. The i8 Coupe features 2+2 seating, while the i8 Roadster subs out the seats in exchange for the roof mechanism. Both models use the same plug-in hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 369 horsepower. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission power the rear wheels, and an electric motor drives the front wheels through a two-speed automatic transmission.
Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, a driver-adjustable suspension, LED exterior lighting (headlights, foglights, running lights and taillights), automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, and driver-seat memory settings.
You also get a head-up display, a navigation system, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface with an 8.8-inch central display screen, a USB port, a Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio and HD radio. Also included are BMW Apps (smartphone app integration), BMW Remote Services (remote-based functions done from a smartphone) and Apple CarPlay (subscription-based).
The optional Tera World package adds special interior trim and unique cloth and leather upholstery. Laser headlights are also available.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The comments in this review are based on limited experience with the BMW i8 Coupe (turbo 1.5L inline-3 plug-in hybrid | 6-speed and 2-speed automatics | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2017, the current i8 has received some revisions, including a more powerful powertrain and higher-capacity battery. Our findings remain applicable to this year's i8, however.
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite i8 safety features:
- ConnectedDrive Services
- Lets you know about traffic and parking spots and, in case of accidents, can connect you to BMW's Accident Assistance for vehicle support.
- BMW Laserlight
- Helps drivers see farther down dark roads, with advanced laser projection technology.
- Active Driving Assistant
- Warns of potential front collisions with vehicles or pedestrians and if the i8 is about to leave its lane.
BMW i8 vs. the competition
2019 BMW i8
2018 Audi R8
BMW i8 vs. Audi R8
While both models feature the number 8, the execution is totally different. The i8's smooth hybrid powertrain is much more efficient and can operate in electric-only mode. Plus, its iDrive system is easier to use and features better smartphone connectivity and integration. The R8 wins out with its speed, handling and sonorous V10 engine. Read Edmunds' long-term road test of the Audi R8.
BMW i8 vs. Tesla Model S
Aside from the ability to plug in for charging, these two cars couldn't be more different. The i8 represents the designer's choice, or the one you want to drive along a winding road during sunset. The Tesla's more conservative and classy approach is augmented by its brutal Ludicrous mode. The i8 wins out in the dynamic handling category. Read Edmunds' long-term road test of the Tesla Model S.
BMW i8 vs. BMW M4
The M4 is the purist's choice because of its powerful and tractable engine, sticky tires and six-speed manual transmission. On a twisty road, it's quite possible the M4 is the quicker car. But the i8 is an event, especially when you pull up to the valet line in electric mode and swing up the i8's doors. It also has decent green-car cred, unlike the gas-swilling M4.
The 2019 BMW i8 looks more like a car of the future than something you can buy off a BMW dealer lot today. It's almost ludicrously low. Its styling is beyond the dreams of George Jetson, and the plug-in gas-electric hybrid drivetrain may as well be classified as science fiction. And this is a supercar that's built to be environmentally aware. It's an exotic sports car that exudes virtue.
Describing the dance between all the elements of the drivetrain could fill volumes. There's a turbocharged inline three-cylinder gas engine in the middle that combines with a battery-powered electric motor for delivery to the rear wheels. Then there's a second electric motor in front that drives the front wheels. Add up all the various components and there's 369 horsepower available to propel both coupe and convertible versions of the i8.
It's enough to push (and pull) the i8 to 60 mph in only about 4.5 seconds. It's not the only hybrid sports car out there, but it's the only plug-in that comes in convertible form. Still, the competitor that comes closest in price is the new Acura NSX. It's good company to keep.
With such a complex drivetrain, just reporting the fuel economy numbers can be mind-boggling. Running strictly on electricity, the EPA rates the i8 at the equivalent of 76 mpg. Running solely on gasoline, it's a combined 28 mpg. The number that may be most impressive is that, when gas and electricity are both used, the total range of the i8 is 330 miles.
All these tech details obscure the bottom line about the i8: It's a blast to drive. It's quick, it handles well, and it doesn't beat you up doing it. It's also comfortable for cruising across whichever continent needs crossing, and it's fun to whip along mountain roads. Plus, it attracts astonishing amounts of attention. This is the car you need for profiling in Miami Beach or Beverly Hills. They'd probably like it in Nebraska and Kentucky, too.
With its wide sills and low roof, there's no way to get into an i8 with any elegance. But you can get into an i8 at a great price by using the tools available to you right here on Edmunds.
2019 BMW i8 Coupe Overview
The 2019 BMW i8 Coupe is offered in the following styles: , and 2dr Coupe AWD (1.5L 3cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6A).
What do people think of the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe and all its trim types. 0 Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2019 i8 Coupe.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2019 i8 Coupe featuring deep dives into trim levels including Base, etc. with careful analysis around pricing, features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving and performance. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.Read our full review of the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe here.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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2019 BMW i8 Coupe Listings and Inventory
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Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including all models of the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe and all available trim types: Base. Rich, trim-level features & specs and options data tracked for the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe include (but are not limited to): MSRP, available incentives and deals, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (interior and exterior color, upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, cruise control, parking assistance, lane sensing, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy and MPG (city, highway, and combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (interior cabin space, vehicle length and width, seating capacity, cargo space). Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds expert review, safety rating, and color.