BMW i8 Named UK Car Of The Year 2015

MAR 15 2015 BY MARK KANE 18

Graeme Grieve, BMW (right), with John Challen, UK Car of the Year

Graeme Grieve, BMW (right), with John Challen, UK Car of the Year

The BMW i8 has been crowned 2015 UK Car of the Year (the car’s road for overall success was opened by its win in the Best Performance Car category.

This is the only plug-in car awarded this time, but it attracted the attention of 14 of the 27 judges. Second place was the Citroën C4 Cactus and Renault Twingo.

“The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car has been crowned UK Car of the Year for 2015. Having fought off stiff competition to the title of Performance Car of the Year, the four-seat technological tour de force also won the overall vote.

Launched in 2014, the UK Car of the Year Awards are judged by 27 of Britain’s most-read motoring journalists. Each judge uses their expertise to pick out the top performer in 12 vehicle categories, before deciding the overall winner from their favourites in each class.”

John Challen, Managing Director of UK Car of the Year Awards, and Editor of stated:

“The automotive industry has seen many hybrid models in recent years, but nothing quite like the i8. The term ‘game-changer’ is sometimes overused when talking about new cars, but in the case of the i8, it is totally justified. The latest ‘i’ model completely redefines the performance car segment, and is helped by a hybrid powertrain that is really quite special.”

Graeme Grieve, BMW UK CEO commented:

“The BMW i8 is the culmination of many years of investment, hard work and commitment to create the world’s most progressive sports car. With our first two BMW i vehicles – the i3 and i8 – being named consecutive UK Car of the Year winners, our technology strategy is being recognised as truly game-changing for the car industry.”

Paul Hudson from The Telegraph remarked:

it was “a fantastic demonstration that an electrically-powered future need not be dull”, while Graeme Lambert from Parkers added: “The i8 represents the future. It also shows us that being excited and being eco-conscious behind the wheel aren’t mutually exclusive.”’s David Ross’ verdict:

“The BMW i8 basically reinvents the performance car. Stunning to look at, and amazing to drive, there’s nothing else like it out there.”

UK Car of the Year Awards

UK Car of the Year Awards

Top Gear’s Tom Ford described the i8 as:

 “hybrid, clever, exciting – the i8 manages to be a consummate driving experience.”

Full list of UK Car of the Year Awards 2015 winners:

Best City Car – Renault Twingo
Best Supermini – Skoda Fabia
Best Small Hatch – Citroën C4 Cactus
Best Family Car – Ford Mondeo
Best Executive Car – Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Best Luxury Car – Rolls-Royce Ghost
Best Estate Car – Volkswagen Passat
Best MPV – BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
Best 4×4 – Porsche Macan
Best Coupé – Jaguar F-TYPE
Best Open Top Car – Porsche Boxster GTS
Best Performance Car – BMW i8

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18 Comments on "BMW i8 Named UK Car Of The Year 2015"

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What is 0-60 time for this car in EV mode (gas engine off).

I don’t think it has an EV mode.

It does have an EV mode. It will hit 60 in 9.2 seconds in EV mode which is slower than a Volt.

Thx Sivad.

This is what no one here can grasp. The Volt is the only car you can buy that really is a true EV in EV mode.

By the same token, you can see how remarkable the i8 is with a 3 cylinder engine no bigger than the Volt’s. With the engine running, it does 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. How much quicker is that than the Volt? Twice as quick? That is a whole different ballpark of performance. If you want to compare EV only performance, BMW has the i3, which blows away the EV performance of a Volt. In fact, in the 20kWh-30kWh, there is not other 4 passenger EV as efficient and as quick as the i3, period.
There is a reason the i8 gets rave reviews. Its not BMW paying off these journalists (some of who are usually anti-BMW/EV). It really is a good car. And that’s why people continue to pay $25K+ over MSRP for one.

There is also a $10k price difference between the Volt and the i3 so I would expect the i3 to be quicker just like the base Model S costs more as is quicker than the i3. I also would expect the i8 to be at least twice as fast as the Volt since it costs nearly 5 times as much.

I would expect if I were paying $135K for a car that had an EV mode I would certainly expect it to be able to not only keep up with low cost EREVs like the Volt or other EVS like the Leaf but to have greater performance.

I would like to add as well that the i8’s 3 cylinder has a much bigger displacement than the Volt’s 4 cylinder. The i8’s 3 cylinder puts out 231hp to the Volt’s 4 cylinder that puts out only 84 hp.

So their engines are nothing alike like you claim. This is also why the much lighter i8 which has less passenger and cargo space gets only 26 mpg once the smaller battery is depleted compared to the Volt which gets 37 mpg once the battery is depleted.

Actually the 0-60 time of the i8 in EV mode is pretty much the same as the Volt. The gas mode of course isn’t even close despite using the same size engines. That’s the difference. As far as the i3 costs, well for 10K more you get innovative CFRP construction. And for $200/month, $2500 on a two year lease, they are more than competitive now. I just talked to a guy who is paying $500/month for his LEAF S. So you it all depends if you do your homework while shopping.

Also, anyone in the automotive performance scene know a 1 second difference 0-60 can be significant. For a factory stock car to go from a 3 second 0-60 time to a 1/2 second quicker time is likely the difference between a $150,000 car and a $1,000,000 + car. You don’t easily double the 0-60 time of a car, sometimes no matter what costs are involved.

Also, we are talking about the new 2016 Volt having the more powerful 1.5 liter engine. The old Volt is even further out of the ball park in engine output/performance.

See my comment below about engine size, efficiency and power. The Volt’s engine is not bigger than the i3 even though it has one more cylinder.

BMW i8:
“Its 1.5 litre engine is a turbocharged, double overhead camshaft, 3 cylinder that develops 228 bhp (231 PS/170 kW) of power, and maximum torque of 320 N·m (236 lb·ft/32.6 kgm) at 3700 rpm.” Efficiency 26 mpg.

2016 Volt: 1.5L DOHC I-4 Efficiency 41 mpg with the same curb weigh as the i8

So you can see that the new Volt will have the same size 1.5L unlike the smaller 1.4L of the old Volt but far less output at lower rpms meaning far better efficiency. Of course GM could have dropped in an expensive high compression, turbocharged 1.5L engine like the i8 and it would be faster. But it would also get crappy gas mileage like the i8 and would cost more.

This doesn’t make the i8 more advanced or special just more expensive with worse gas mileage. Look at the Hellcat. It costs half the price of the i8, is faster to 60 and and gets 18 mpg to the i8’s 26 mpg. Does that make the Hellcat’s Hemi more advanced than the i8? Of course not it just uses more gas to go faster.

“Actually the 0-60 time of the i8 in EV mode is pretty much the same as the Volt.” But the Volt will still win. Volt 0-60 sub 9 sec. i8 EV mode 0-60 9.2 sec. It shouldn’t be that way for a $135,000 car that has an EV mode. It should be as fast as the i3 or at least beat the Volt. “The gas mode of course isn’t even close despite using the same size engines.” Again they are NOT using the same size engines. The i3 is a much more powerful 3-cylinder engine with 150 hp more than the Volt’s 4-cylinder engine. Having more cylinders doesn’t make an engine bigger. Again that is why the i8 gets worse gas mileage because it is a more powerful engine and isn’t as efficient. For example an F1 engine weighs no more than 95 kg or 209 lbs but is a V6 that with high rpms is able to acheive over 750 hp. This doesn’t weigh much more than the i8’s engine but is much more powerful and is by no means the same size even though they weigh about the same. The catch? It gets 4 mpg while racing. So… Read more »
Both engines are 1.5 liters, so nothing to argue about there. The fact that the i8 engine puts out almost double the horsepower means it should get half the gas mileage if we went by your logic. But since it gets way better than half the mpg, the BMW engine must be superior, LOL. The i8 engine is more advanced than the GM motor. Want to compare how many BMW engines proportionately win more International Engine Of The Year Awards, compared to GM??? FYI…BMW was running 333HP 3.0L naturally aspirated 6 cylinder 8000 RPM engines in their M3 back in 2001. 8300 RPM 500HP V10 Engines in their M5 10 yrs ago. And now they were the first out of gate recently with the Hot Vee TTV8 engines. (Before Mercedes/Audi). These engines make 565HP out of 4.4 Liters. And unlike GM, these engines are conservatively rated. Ever wonder why a 300HP 335i, beats all the 300HP Sedans from Lexus, GM, Nissan? People are literally stunned when they find the German engines almost put out their rated engine HP at the rear wheels! Ever wonder why the new M3 with less HP and more weight than the new Stingray can run… Read more »

Oh, to make it easier on yourself, I just looked up the Wikipedia results for the International Engine Of The Year Award:

if you look at the top award, and the lower tables, you will find no other Manufacturer comes close to BMW in winning this coveted award. You will also see the comparison of awards won:

BMW 63

GM 2

No…GM’s engines are not as advanced as those designed by BMW. GM just uses the simple way out…Huge displacement to get the same kind of HP the Germans get with much smaller engines.

“The fact that the i8 engine puts out almost double the horsepower means it should get half the gas mileage if we went by your logic.” How does my logic say that? Of course hp numbers do not directly translate to mpg in a one to one ratio but therthere is a ratio of less power output resulting in better efficiency. The i8 engine is superior to the Volt’s in that it cost more and has more hp with worse gas mileage. And yes the Hellcat SRT has a much bigger displacement but there is a reason to compare them. The i8 does not achieve 26 mpg using the gas engine. If it didn’t have it’s battery and electric motor it would get even lower mpg putting it only a few mpg better than the Hellcat that has a much bigger engine displacement and much more hp. So how is that a superior engine? Combined with the electric motor it is however a more efficient drivetrain. That gets to my point about why the i8 would be a remarkable car if it was priced in the $70-$80 range but why it’s unremarkable at it’s current starting price of $135K. It’s… Read more »
Again, why are you comparing a 2 seat Z06 with a blown 6.2 liter (or 7.0 liter last version), against a Four seat M3/i8 with 3.0 liters or 1.5 liter engines? Its almost comical. If you want to talk about track numbers, look at the report where Randy Probst did an on track shootout between the Z06 and 3.8 Liter GTR Nismo. The Nismo with less horsepower and hundreds of pounds heavier trounced the new 630+ HP Z06 around Willow Springs and the quarter mile. Again, technology wins over brute force. The Z06 was a handful comparitively speaking. The Z06 is a derivitive of a basic Corvette. The i8 is a ground up, limited production vehicle. Of course its going to cost much more money. The production costs per unit is way more expensive. But people are more than willing to pay for that exclusivity, and unique driving experience the i8 brings. Heck, a casual observer many not even distinguish the difference between a Hellcat and a 6 cylinder model. The i8 will not be confused with any other model. For some people, that’s enough to justify the price. Throw in the technological innovation and driving experiences that the professionals… Read more »

The question I would ask you is why do you keep insisting on changing the subject from the critique of the i8 as an overpriced underperforming barely 4 seat sports coupe with half the cargo volume of a Corvette Z06 at almost twice the price? (The back 2 seats for all practical purposes are nonfunctional). Instead you keep drifting off comparing the Z06 to the GTR Nismo (why are you comparing a $150k GTR to a $70k Z06?) This article is about the i8.

But since you brought it up do you know another car that is priced similar to the i8 and kicks it’s butt? The GTR Nismo. You just proved my point. I’m not defending GM or Corvettes or American muscle cars even but I am pointing out how overhyped the i8 is as some revolutionary sports car.

That’s the point. You are missing the fact that the i8 is a relative bargain. It is closer in design to a 918 or a P1 Mclaren. Heck, its “only” about a second off the 0-60 pace of those cars, yet costs about $800,000 less! Just like those cars, it performs as well as cars with twice the engine size, can go a small amount of miles on electric only. They too are limited production, and sell out quickly.

So to answer your question: The i8 is a stunning value.

The i8 performs as well as cars with twice the engine size.

The i8 has design and exclusivity that many financially successful people desire, so it routinely sells for $25-$50k over sticker.

Those are the facts, regardless of your interpretation of it being the years biggest rip off to purchase.