Let’s face it; if you’re a car enthusiast, you’ve at least thought about buying a heavily depreciated supercar. Thanks to heavy depreciation, the six-figure BMW i8 has become somewhat attainable in the used market. However, since it is the first plug-in hybrid supercar BMW ever produced, there are some issues you should be aware of. Today we’ll be looking at a video on the No Lemons Cars YouTube channel going over the long-term ownership problems of the i8.
What makes the BMW i8 so appealing?
It would be tough to argue that the BMW i8 is not a sharp-looking car. In fact, the production version doesn’t look all that different from the concept car shown in 2011. As the “i” in this car’s name suggests, the i8 is a plug-in hybrid. The base engine is a turbocharged inline-three-cylinder engine developing 228 hp. On top of that, you get an electric motor adding 129 hp. Total output was rated at 357 hp and 420 lb-ft. However, for the 2018 to 2020 model years, power increased slightly to 369 hp and 420 lb-ft.
According to Car and Driver, the BMW i8 had a base price of $137,450. For this, you got an electrified supercar capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and 100 mph in 9 seconds. The quarter-mile was dealt with in just 12.1 seconds at 116 mph. Flat out, the i8 topped out at 155 thanks to a top speed limiter. During Car and Driver’s test, the i8 managed to impress on twisty roads, showing excellent handling characteristics.
Despite its six-figure starting price, a quick look on Autotrader reveals that used examples with reasonable mileage sell for far less than $60,000. This marks a depreciation rate of over 50 percent in just a few years. However, you’ll want to wait before going to the dealership.
Here is what could go wrong with a used i8
The owner of the BMW i8 in question starts off the video by recommending that you look closely at the state of the battery. This is because these first-generation battery packs can wear prematurely. As a result, an i8 without a battery warranty could spell big trouble for a new owner. In fact, Heidi and Franny’s Garage on YouTube had the battery completely die on their i8. Thankfully, their car still had some of the original warranty left.
Given the BMW i8’s status as a sports car, it won’t surprise you to learn that its windshield can crack rather easily. Additionally, since the i8 doesn’t share any body components with other BMW models, a cracked windshield isn’t exactly cheap.
In terms of significant glitches, a user on the Bimmerpost forum reported having major electrical issues after hitting 5,000 miles on their BMW i8. A different user then later chimed in on the thread, stating that they also experienced a similar problem. In the end, the owner needed a brand-new wiring harness to fix the issue.
As a result, you’ll want to look at the condition of these cheap examples very closely before pulling the trigger. If any of the major and complicated components fail, it could result in pricey repair bills.
What should you buy instead?
If you’re looking for a used mid-engined sports-car for similar money to the BMW i8, thankfully, you have a few options. The first is the 2008 Audi R8, which comes with a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8 in the middle. A six-speed manual variant was available, and early examples sell for less than $60,000. If you want something more reliable but still mid-engined, look at the Acura NSX. The first-gen NSX sells for less than $60,000 and will present few reliability issues despite its age.
All in all, if you’re looking at depreciated supercars, you’ll want to be extra careful since a good deal can easily and quickly turn into a bad time.