On paper, the BMW i8 is an incredible car. Even though it’s approaching its sixth birthday, the i8’s design still looks like something that’s coming out for the next model year. Its gas-electric drivetrain sips fuel like a hybrid commuter car while still providing enough oomph to launch the i8 from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. However, it has skinny tires and a mediocre exhaust note. It looks like a supercar, but it isn't. You know what would fix that? A V-8.
Luckily for us, the world is full of enterprising engineers, and there’s now a version of the i8 that addresses all of its factory shortcomings.
Video surfaced last month of a custom-built i8 race car, complete with the fat tires and screaming V-8 exhaust note that BMW never gave it. According to BMW Blog, the i8 race car is equipped with the same S65 4.0-liter V-8 engine that was used in the E92 generation (2007-2013) of the BMW M3. Only in race car guise, the V-8’s output has been increased from just over 400 horsepower to 540 hp.
Things get better still. Since the i8 racer is built on a bespoke chassis and doesn’t carry around the heavy batteries required by a hybrid drivetrain, it weighs just 2,425 pounds, which is nearly 1,000 pounds less than a regular i8. Needless to say, the i8 race car can flat out fly.
Wide, grippy tires and a gas-swilling V-8 might go against everything the i8 stands for, but that doesn’t make us like this race car any less.
Click on the video above to watch the i8 in action on Belgium's legendary Spa Francorchamps race circuit.