The production run of the BMW i8 has officially come to an end. Manufactured at BMW Group Plant Leipzig from 2014 up until just a few days prior to the publication of this article, the i8 was an incredibly important model for BMW. We’ll spare you the details in this article, as David Rose covered them in such eloquent detail earlier this year, but the construction of the i8 alone is something to marvel that.
To properly understand the i8, it is perhaps best viewed through the lens of the contemporary hypercar lineup—those that you can actually buy. These include the likes of the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918, all of which use a hybrid drivetrain layout that’s not particularly different from the i8. BMW’s futuristic performance hybrid isn’t in the same league of performance, but that’s okay, because it’s actually far more usable. It’s said that the driving experience speaks for itself, with a raucous and heavily boosted inline-three situated directly behind the driver, and a pair of electric motors powering the front axle. And then there are the looks, which many of us have been enamored with ever since the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept was unveiled over a decade ago at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA).
Even with a design that still looks futuristic after six model years and production of more than 20,000 units, the i8’s time has come and gone. During the time it was available as a new BMW, the i8 not only collected numerous awards for everything from its styling to its powertrain, but it also earned the respect of BMW enthusiasts the world over, some of whom had come of age with cars like the 2002.
Now, with a potential successor that could assume a form similar to that of the Vision M Next on the horizon, i8 production has officially ceased. A moment that was surely worthy of commemoration, BMW celebrated the completion and departure of the final eighteen cars. As you might expect though, these were not simply conventional i8s rolling off the production line, as each of the final eighteen was finished in a unique, customer-specific color scheme. Not unlike some of the variety that is offered by BMW Individual, some of the colors included greats like Le Mans Blue, Austin Yellow, and British Racing Green, among other captivating finishes. The customization was not limited to exteriors, with special interior pieces like trim and fascia used, along with Alcantara inserts and covers for seats and steering wheels.
Pulling it all off was not particularly easy, as many of the individual components for the final eighteen i8s were actually hand-painted. A good many of the economies of scale developed over a six-year production went out the window for this final special project, because the finished pieces and parts are all essentially one-of-a-kind, and had to be treated with the utmost care when being transported and installed.
With all of the i8 one-offs complete, it was time for them to be delivered to their customers. This occurred at BMW Group Plant Leipzig on June 25 with a strong contingent from the BMW i8 Club International present, including the club president.
And that’s it for now; BMW’s incredible i8 has come and gone. You can now purchase early production examples for a relative bargain, and if you ask us, you’re getting a serious amount of car for the money.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]