Read the BMW i8’s specs all day long and it’s still hard to believe the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder, hybrid-powered 2+2 coupe is capable of doing the things a proper sports car can do. Sure it’s turbocharged, but its still a three-cylinder! Remember the Geo Metro? Yeah, it was thee-banger and sported all of 55 horsepower. That’s what comes to mind when I hear three-cylinder.
But never mind all that. BMW’s sorcery and electrification coax a combined 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque to spin all four wheels. With a curb weight of 3,360 pounds, the i8 magically rockets to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
This Prius killer is a competent handler, too. Its carbon-fiber center section is reinforced with aluminum while substructures at each end hold up the suspension, engine, and steering mechanisms. Bridgestone Potenza tires sized in 215/45R20 and 245/40R 20 do the road holding.
This video evidence is still hard to believe, though all the stats (besides cylinder count and displacement) say otherwise. BMW has sure done its homework, and I look forward to what else is coming down the pipeline from the new i Division.
As the power density of engines grow and smaller displacements become the norm, my existing notions of three-cylinder power need adjustment.