Consumer Reports Pits BMW i8 Against Tesla Model S – Video

3 years ago by Mark Kane 23

BMW i8

BMW i8

Model S Versus BMW i8

Model S Versus BMW i8

We think the majority of our readers would like to see a Tesla Model S and BMW i8 comparison despite those two cars being in completely different categories.

Consumer Reports recently grabbed both of those plug-in cars and tried to see how they compare.

And you know what, there are similarities, but only on the general level. Both cars are very exciting and desirable.

On the other hand, the Tesla Model S already proved itself on the market as one of the best selling electric cars, while the BMW i8 still must prove its position (probably just a matter of time.)

“The BMW i8 is a sleek and sexy hybrid. The Tesla Model S is an all-electric powerhouse. What happens when these two titans are matched head-to-head?”

Hat tip to Jim I!

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23 responses to "Consumer Reports Pits BMW i8 Against Tesla Model S – Video"

  1. Disappointed says:

    Thank You !

    This was “Refreshingly Objective Reporting!”

  2. Stimpacker says:

    Why would you “match head-to-head” these 2 vehicles? Would you compare a Bentley to a Lamborghini just because both have a V12 engine?

    Nobody ever compared a Camaro to a Pontiac G8 despite the fact that both are based off the same platform and some models even run the same V8 engine. Why? Because one is a sports car, the other is a sporty family sedan. Apples and oranges.

    Heck, the Tesla Model S and the BMW i8 are less similar than the examples above.

    1. JRMW says:

      1) You get a lot of these weird comparisons due to the paucity of options. Thus we compare things like a Tesla to a LEAF! Or the Outlander PHEV to the not-yet-existent Model X. There just aren’t many EVs and PHEVs, and we gotta compare something.

      2) because its fun!

      I agree with you about the apples to oranges issue, but also think it’s fun to compare them.

      It could be worse. We could be comparing the i8 to a MiEV.

      1. Jim_NJ says:

        If you actually watch the video, you’ll see that the reviewer agrees with you. He starts out saying, “So with BMW’s radical new i8, has the Tesla Model S met its match? No, no it hasn’t. Because comparing these two cars would be kind of stupid.”

    2. sven says:

      “Nobody ever compared a Camaro to a Pontiac G8. . . .”

      Here’s a video of two guys comparing a Camaro and a G8 at a drag strip.

      1. Stimpacker says:

        Sorry to go off topic but thanks for sharing those comparos, Sven. Those are definitely cars that look so different but have so many hidden similarities that make them worth comparing. I have a soft spot for both those cars.

  3. JRMW says:

    These two cars are both awesome. However, there is no question that the S will far outsell the i8.

    The S is a sports sedan, and very practical.
    The i8 is a sports car. The base i8 price ($135k) is also far higher than the highest end S

    The Tesla S is a luxury priced car, but it’s what I call “aspirational luxury” where the high end of the middle class and lower end of the upper class can stretch to buy it especially after all the rebates and gas savings.

    The i8 is for the wealthy, the top 0.1% to 0.5%. No stretching happening here.

    Given all the above, many i8 owners will also have an S in their garage. But the reverse is not true. (most S owners will not have an i8)

    “while the BMW i8 still must prove its position”
    The i8 has already done this
    It’s getting rave reviews. It sold out in the UK within 2 weeks.

    The i8 is really competing with other sports cars. And it’s holding its own against them, even the vaunted Porsche 911. That’s saying something.

    when reviewers fault the i8 it’s primarily because it’s not an ICE. so the 911 is “winning” mainly because people start out defining an ICE as “the ideal” and then dock the i8 when it doesn’t do things like have a loud stinky engine that makes a lot of noise.
    (that said; it’s true that the i8 can’t match the 911’s numbers either)

    All that said:
    if BMW thinks the upcoming X5 PHEV will do well against the Model X then they will be rudely surprised.

    The i8 shines on its own in part because it really isn’t competing with Tesla.
    But the X5 PHEV and the Model X are direct competitors.

    And I think Tesla X will clean BMW’s X5 clock.

  4. Jim_NJ says:

    It’s interesting that the reviewer states that the Tesla Model S ‘has won’ vs. ICE cars in its class because the Model S outsells the Model BMW 7 and Mercedes S-Class. It will be interesting to see how the BMW i8 does vs. ICE cars in its class – but I’m not sure what that ‘class’ is. The i8 is way more expensive than the Porsche 911, but way less expensive than ‘super cars’ like Ferraris and Lambos.

  5. David Murray says:

    Interestingly enough… If the i8 and the Model-S were similarly priced and I actually made enough money to afford one of them…. I’d buy the i8. I’d probably be driving it in EV mode 95% of the time.. albeit I’d probably wind up stopping at a lot of charge stations on my weekend drives.

    I wish the i8 were about $40,000 and had double the electric range.. If that were the case, I’d have one sitting in my garage right now.

    1. Rob Stark says:

      If I could be any supercar at 30% of the price with double the performance it would be sitting in my garage right now.

    2. Jim_NJ says:

      “I wish the i8 were about $40,000 and had double the electric range.. If that were the case, I’d have one sitting in my garage right now.”

      It sounds like you’re describing a Chevy Volt. Oh, except instead of 0-60 in 4.4 secs, a Volt would be double that. And of course you’d have more room too.

      1. David Murray says:

        I already have a Volt… but it doesn’t look anywhere a cool as the i8.

      2. ELROY says:

        More than one major auto publication has tested 3.8-3.9 seconds 0-60mph in the i8.BMW always has conservative factory acceleration and horsepower ratings.

  6. Mark B. Spiegel says:

    The reviewer is wrong re. Model S sales vs. the S-Class– the Benz is outselling the Tesla 3:1 worldwide this year, as well as crushing it here in the U.S.

    1. Rob Stark says:

      The reviewer was correct for US 2013 sales.

      S-Class is completely redesigned for 2014 and has had record sales.

      OTOH, Tesla does not offer subsidized leases nor offer leasing companies a 20% plus discount. As is common in Europe for MB,Audi,and BMW.

      Tesla pre sells every car it makes at full price. No subsidized financing of any kind and no cash on hood.

      Nor has Tesla begun a paid advertising campaign.

      Tesla can open new stores, special finance deals, or begin paid advertising to amplify demand.

      1. Dan says:

        I doubt the “no fair, subsidies!” claim carries much weight when talking about EV sales. The government isn’t going to give you ~$10k to buy an S-Class.

  7. Josh says:

    There really should be a head-to-head comparison of the Tesla Roadster and the i8.

  8. jmac says:

    I love it when the reviewer says at minute 2:25 that the sounds from the 3 cylinder engine are at least partially synthetic and are coming from speakers inside the cabin.

    Hey, that’s what Tesla needs to do — mount a bunch of speakers at various points around their car that make growling, rumbling and soft purring noises.

    Sales would triple !!!

    1. Disappointed says:

      Yes, BMW wasted their money on a “Simulated
      Big Engine Sound” which they broadcast in the cabin to mask the whimpy 3 cylinder.

      Experience tells us that Natural, “Growling and Rumbling sounds” are emitted by the driver when he discovers that his all electric mode is exhausted after 12-20 miles!

      1. Foo says:

        Yes, it’s the Ultimate Driving… simulation.

  9. c4v3man says:

    So, pretty much the same thing Motor Trend said when they compared the two cars in their October issue then?

    They are not comparable, the i8 is a better “drivers car”, but the Tesla is infinitely more livable with few compromises… and cheaper.

  10. JOHN T SHEA says:

    Comparing the Tesla to the S-Class and 7-Series is even stranger than comparing it to the I8. The Tesla’s real competition is the E-Class, CLS, 5-Series, 6-Series Gran Coupe’, Panamera, A7, A6, XF, GS, CTS, and other such executive cars.