The i8 Coupe still looks like no other car. It's sleek and clean in its detailing and features beetle-wing upwards opening doors. I can't think of another rival in its price bracket that offers quite so much visual drama. Given that you could easily blow a similar £110k budget on a Porsche 911 Carrera, the BMW moves the game on. Suddenly Audi's R8, a car that once looked so bold, looks a bit under-baked. The i8's rear end is particularly unusual, with no visible exhausts and what looks to be the tail of a Porsche 911 being enveloped by the plastic bodywork. Once you see it, you won't be able to forget it.
You don't have to have the Coupe bodystyle now though. BMW has added the option of an open-topped Roadster bodystyle as part of a package of mid-term updates made to this car. This features an all-electric fabric roof that can open or close in just 16 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. The three segments of the roof fold vertically in a Z-shape, leaving an additional 100 litres of storage space between the roof box and the seats, on top of the 88-litres of cargo space in the rear compartment.
Both i8 variants keep their kerb weights low thanks to a body that's a mix of carbon fibre and aluminium. The chassis is aluminium and the upper 'Life' passenger cell is carbon but BMW hasn't gone all race-tech and stripped-out. Coupe buyers tend to value the small rear seats too. As for the rest of the cabin, well even if you hid the badges, the smooth sweep of the dashboard and the excellent ergonomics clearly bear Munich's mark. The dash is an LED virtual screen with another display popping up from the dash roll top. It's very nicely executed but surprisingly, not as adventurous as the humbler i3 hatch. Practicalities include a 42-litre fuel tank, a 12.3 metres turning circle and, in the Coupe, a rather puny 154-litre boot.