New subtle kit for the BMW i8 puts me on the fence
Here's what I like about the design of the BMW i8.
So many hybrids and electric cars that have rolled off the line have substituted the need for well-rounded lines and confident faces for every tech-design stereotype in the automotive book. Somewhere along the line, someone penned an unwritten rule that electric and hybrid cars must look bizarre and different. It's not well enough for them to blend into the crowd and maybe get by with a nice 'eWhatever' badge on the tailgate — they have to look as daft and silly ... I mean as 'advanced', as possible.
The Toyota Prius is probably one of the stand-out examples, with the latest variant and its hydrogen cuzzie the Mirai taking the idea to new 'heights'. But it's also something visible with the Holden Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Honda Insight. I can get that to a degree it's probably a marketing ploy, with people's cars made to look a bombastic and left-field as possible so that they can attract every conversation at the watercooler, by the party's barbecue, or simply in the shopping mall parking lot.
“Is that hybrid ... yours?”
The i8 follows a similar set of notions, but unlike the others — it actually works. This is a car that has the silhouette of a supercar, but looks nothing like any other on the road. It's a beautiful thing equally capable of attracting adoration from car buffs and tech geeks alike. My heart sings particularly loudly for the intricately sculpted rear quarters, where the wide wheel arches fall away instead of meeting with the roof-line.
But, Vorsteiner's kit for the i8 worries me somewhat, and the execution of this particular black example makes me wonder even more.
The VR-E kit sees the i8 get chin and butt implants made from carbon fibre — both extended and lowered for the sake of that thing people call aerodynamics. But neither of them does the form of the car any favours, marring its svelte lines with their harsh edges.
But it's the black that ultimately ends things for me. The combination of dipping the entire car in black, and losing the blue highlights sees so many of the i8s wonderful little details become hidden. The i8 goes from being a car that clearly knows its own MO to looking like any other two-door coupe looks like when slammed to the ground and 'murdered out' — as they say in Americaland. It needlessly strips the car of a chunk of its identity, and I don't think it's for the better.
But, I think we can all say that much, much worse has been done to a supercar before.