The inevitable review happened - BMW i8 vs Porsche 911
While having almost nothing in common besides the number of doors and price point you know this was going to happen. If you're going to spend 100K plus on a sports car the Porsche has to come up, and for good reason. The 911 is a legendary, seasoned competitor that’s tough to conquer. It looks like BMW’s i8 has become another runner up to Porsche’s top gun.
AutoExpress recently brought these two very different competitors together. The 911 brings the performance and handling of Porsche’s classic rear-engine, rear-drive setup, with a 395 horsepower 3.8 liter flat six. On the other side, BMW outfitted the i8 with a 1.5 liter three cylinder, good for 231 hp, that drives the rear wheels as well as a 131 hp electric motor that sends its power to the front wheels. Porsche’s latest 911 design has evolved from the original, launched in 1963, where the i8 is a step in a new direction for BMW, utilizing new cutting edge production methods and technology. Have a look at what AutoExpress took away from the comparison.
Decades of development have turned the once wayward rear-engined Porsche into one of the most poised and agile machines ever.
At the core of this is the new engine range, which in 3.8-litre 395bhp*Carrera S trim delivers a staggering blend of power and response.
this car’s advanced chassis control systems also deserve special mention, and give the car incredible mid-corner stability.
A change to the 911’s steering set up means the car is much more comfortable on motorways. It's extremely refined, too.
Thanks to the 100mm-longer wheelbase, the Porsche 911 is roomier inside than ever before.
It's relatively compact dimensions make it easy to park, and big windows ensure good visibility.
Officially, 0-62mph takes 4.4 seconds, but because you have the instant torque of the electric motor, it actually feels a lot quicker off the line than that.
Flooring the throttle in this mode gives you a smooth and muscular surge of acceleration, accompanied by a sci-fi whine from the electric motor and a deep, throaty growl from the three-cylinder engine – clever tuning means that it sounds a little like a Porsche flat-six.
Through bends the i8 feels light on its feet, with barely any body roll and a crisp response from the fingertip-light steering.
Once you’re actually in the corner, you’ll find the i8 isn’t quite as engaging or as adjustable as a 911 or Audi R8, but it’s seriously capable nonetheless.
The BMW i8 is supposedly a 2+2 but you only get a pair of seriously upright, legroom-limited seats in the back – no one will thank you for squeezing them in there for a long journey.
In the end
There’s little to choose between our contenders when it comes to practicality. Both feature a similar 2+2 seating layout, although the BMW’s lower roofline means it has less headroom here, while each car’s boot will swallow a couple of bags for a weekend away.
If you’re buying a sports car, then ultimate driving thrills will be at the top of your shopping list – and in this respect the 911 remains unrivalled. With its agile and adjustable handling, strong performance and scintillating soundtrack, the Porsche is one of the most engaging and involving cars money can buy. The i8 lacks the driver engagement that makes you want to take it out just for the hell of it.
As stated earlier, these are two very different cars. While I personally would also pick the most engaging and involving car to drive, I can see why others may go with the high tech, more sustainable option. Which would you pick for the money?
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