One huge side effect of testing new cars for a living is seeing peoples' reactions when you're piloting something that's either all new, never been seen before or something exotic or ultra-expensive. The BMW i8 is all of those things and was handed over to me for an entire weekend.
Related: More on the BMW i8
Since a Cars.com review was already in the works I didn't want to write about the i8's performance but rather the many looks — and even rude commentary on my manhood — from people I came across. Here is what I encountered after three days with the plug-in electric sports car.
Now that auto show season is over, the wait is over when it comes to seeing which new cars will hit dealerships soon, but now the real wait begins.
There's plenty to look forward to, because there are almost too many new vehicles to choose from such as the redesigned, more modern Ford Mustang and the sleek, futuristic electric car from BMW, the i8. They're not all sports cars though; the tiny Jeep Renegade SUV and midsize Hyundai Sonata sedan are also on our list.
Check out the top 10 new vehicles the Cars.com reviewers can't wait to drive:
As more manufacturers introduce electric cars, these battery-powered vehicles are becoming something people see on the road every day. At least in some parts of the country, they are.
The number of purely electric vehicles offered in the U.S. will grow to a dozen by the end of this year. Many of those EVs are available only in a small number of states, however, with California being the epicenter of electric-car sales.
Typically, concept cars either start as outrageous contrivances that retain little shock value upon production, or the "concept" is so close to production that there's little difference once it’s in showrooms. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays says the 2014 BMW i8 — the automaker's first plug-in electric hybrid — is nearly as out-there as it was in "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol," with upward-and-outward-opening doors, aluminum and carbon fiber throughout, and even "laser headlights" where legal.
The double-team of the i8's turbocharged three-cylinder and electric motor means it'll only take you 4 seconds to get to 60 mph, but Mays warns it takes far longer to maneuver your body into the driver's seat.
It's not every day that you can hop down to your favorite car dealer and drive home in a concept car, but BMW is making that possible with the introduction of the new 2014 i8 sports coupe. While it doesn't look exactly like the 2011 EfficientDynamics coupe concept on which it is based, the second vehicle in BMW's eco-friendly "i" lineup is just about as close as one can get to the original vision while still maintaining crash-safety standards and everyday usability.
If you think it looks dramatic in pictures, wait until you see an i8 in person. The swoopy body work is maybe the most futuristic design on the market. This is exactly the kind of car science-fiction movies predicted we'd be driving in the 21st century. It is also deceptively small; despite being a 2+2 configuration, this is truly a two-passenger sports coupe.
As promised when we saw the BMW i8 Spyder concept at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show, the production version of the high-performance hybrid plug-in has arrived for the 2014 model year, bowing this week at the City of Angels' 2013 show. The sleek 2014 i8 coupe with gull-wing doors is expected to reach showrooms by spring with a starting price of $135,700, not including destination charge or any state or federal incentives for which the high-mileage i8 may qualify. The all-wheel-drive 2+2 seater uses BMW's first plug-in hybrid powertrain: a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder teamed with an electric motor and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery, and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combined gas-and-electric output is 362 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque — good for a zero-to-62 mph time of 4.4 seconds and estimated fuel economy of 94 mpg.
BMW describes the i8's exterior design as an "emotion-led visual impression based around established BMW i design language," boasting classical sports-car proportions, clean lines and standard full LED headlights. Check out the photo gallery below; photos by Cars.com's Evan Sears.
It may look like something out of near-future sci-fi, but the BMW i8 Spyder concept's future as a production car is nearer than it seems. The automaker has said it will build the high-performance hybrid plug-in by 2014. BMW has even brought some of its space-age features a bit more down to earth in preparation.
Interior features, from tech to color schemes, now more closely resemble their production counterparts. While the convertible Spyder lacks a backseat, it's unlikely drivers will think long about that as they accelerate from zero to 62 mph while enjoying a 94 mpg combined rating. Check out the gallery below.
More details have emerged on the potential Saab asset sell, according to Automotive News. The deal, devised by a Japan-Hong Kong partnership, so far only includes the purchasing rights to the current Saab 9-3 vehicle and a platform Saab was developing called "Phoenix," which was supposed to be the next-generation 9-3. The firm also wants to buy the old Saab factory, but it plans to hire only 200 employees instead of the 3,500 that used to work there. The new Saab company, called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, aims to become the world’s largest purveyor of electric vehicles, turning Saab exclusively into an EV maker. The new company won’t have the rights to build the Saab 9-5 or the Saab 9-4x, according to GM, which owns the technology rights to those vehicles. The company won’t own Saab’s spare parts company, either. The biggest omission to the deal is the rights to the Saab brand name; those discussions are still ongoing, according to the company. If the deal goes through, the new company aims to build EVs using Japanese technology on the Saab platform by 2013 or 2014.
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