But does it drive like a sports car? Well yes and no.
Firstly, some changes have been made to the vehicle dynamics and while the narrow roads of Mallorca and the possibility of cyclists coming at us on the wrong side of the road did restrict exploring the Roadster’s limits somewhat, it all felt very positive. There was tremendous grip and the car felt very well sorted even on some of the bumpier roads.
That instant power from the electric motor made light work of rapid acceleration and on more than one occasion the electric mode startled a cyclist or two when they turned around to find an i8 cruising silently behind them.
It is this lack of sound that is a big problem though.
Traditionally sports cars make noise. In the future they might be silent. The i8 sits in the middle, being silent sometimes but then that three-cylinder motor boosts the power. It doesn’t boost the sound. Driving through a tunnel with the windows down it sounds nothing like a sports car at all, it doesn’t even have the great sound of a Mini. There is some synthesised noise but BMW has wound it down slightly at the request of customers, but it is all rather disappointing, especially in something that looks so fantastic and costs R2,329,300.
So who is it aimed at then? Well discussions with the BMW execs revealed that it is unlikely to be bought by anyone as their only sports car. Buyers will probably have at least one other piece of performance machinery in their garage that makes proper sports car noise. Essentially the i8 coupe and Roadster are statements, a toe being dipped into the water of future motoring trends. You want performance, you want automotive art and you want to be a trend-setter, to show that you have a slightly green heart but still like to have a bit of fun. In this regard the i8 is brilliant, but in the ways that will count to many who relish the true sports car experience, it will be just a bit too expensive and a bit too flawed.