That’s More Like It…

BMW revealed the production version of its i8 plug-in hybrid supercar at Frankfurt and…it is not a puggle! In fact, it is very alluring, if not nearly as attractive as the Porsche 918 Spyder.

While I only saw it in concept form at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, I thought the i8 boded well for things to come in the then-nascent world of alternative fuel supercars.  Below are photos I took at the time.

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The production version unveiled at Frankfurt hews pretty closely to the concept, except that the i8 now looks like it ate a Porsche 911. Slightly awkward.

Regardless of the cannibalistic issues, the i8 boasts some seriously impressive figures: 362 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque, 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, 94 mpg.

Of course, those figures don’t come cheap. Here’s another figure: the $135,700 base price. Yes, the arrival of the i8 in spring 2014 will not have much effect on us, dear readers. We average Joes and Josephines are stuck with the Puggle and the Radioactive Amoeba for now.

And yet. I find the emergence of the i8, the Porsche 918 Spyder and other high-performance alt-fuel vehicles to be very encouraging. I’ve been somewhat of a hater of alt-fuel cars for awhile, but I truly have nothing against the concept of hybrids, hydrogen cells, plug-ins, whatever. What I have always disliked is the holier-than-thou grandstanding, the ridiculous styling and the miserable driving dynamics of alt-fuel cars. I would be happy to plug in the Red MINI every night, so long as she continued to drive like the Red MINI. And I’m not going to slow down around curves to “save the planet.” That doesn’t even make sense. But give me an alt-fuel car that I can drive, like the Tesla Model S, and I will be its biggest champion. So I hope that the technologies being developed by BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren and others will filter down to the rabble, so that we (you and I) can appreciate their benefits in a more affordable, but no less fun, package.

Motorista, the eternal optimist.

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