Auto Bild TV is the YouTube channel of the German car publication, and boy do the producers love to pit cars from the home country against each other.
Recently, we saw a BMW M4 outrun a BMW M235i.
But in 2014, the M4 got totally dusted by the incredibly exotic, futuristic i8.
The M4 is an incredibly stonking car, stuffed with horsepower — 420, to be exact — and attitude. It’s advanced, but it’s old-school advanced.
The i8 is a whole ‘nuther ball game: a 128-horsepower electric motor yoked to a 228-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder conventional motor. And as it turns out, Business Insider has sampled an i8, just as we did an M4 and an M235i.
According to BMW, the 0-to-60 mph time is 4.2 seconds. Although Car and Driver magazine achieved a considerably quicker time.
The M4, with its dual turbochargers, has a similar 0-to-60 time of 4.2 seconds (although again, some reviewers have beaten that).
So, on paper, it should be a dead heat.
Except that for Auto Bild TV, it wasn’t. And here’s why.
Wheel spin off the line! The M4 raised that cool cloud of smoke, which of course looked awesome — but meant that the tires weren’t digging into the tarmac.
The i8, meanwhile, with its effective all-wheel-drive system (a motor over each axle), hunkered down right away and pulled away.
The M4 never had a chance.
There was something almost perfectly Old School vs. New School about this showdown. The smoking tires on the M4 were classic — what’s a drag race without a burnout?
But the performance of the i8 demonstrates why hybrid-gas-electric cars have a future in the high-performance game. Electric motors give you 100% of the torque they have on tap at 1 rpm. That’s why you feel like you’re being launched into space in, for example, a Tesla P90D with “Ludicrous Mode” installed. Or an i8, which is using its electric motor to create that initial surge of speed.
A lot of automakers invested in velocity have figured this out. But with the i8, the car not only looks like a spaceship — it drives like one, too.
Disclosure: Axel Springer is Business Insider’s parent company.
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