Renowned chef Aiden Byrne, famous for The Church Green in Lymm and Manchester House, recently took the BMW i8 for a test drive over a weekend. Here is how he got on:
The BMW i8 has quickly become an iconic supercar not only for its head-turning exterior but also as it is the first plug-in hybrid from the BMW Group. When Williams BMW offered me the chance to try one out, I didn’t have to think twice.
I was instantly taken aback by the car when I saw it up close for the first time at Williams Bolton BMW; it is simply stunning with the hard-to-miss contrasting panels defining every curve. No matter the angle, the BMW i8 is consistently impressive, with its narrow headlights that create a fierce frontage and its sides where futuristic dihedral gullwing doors welcome you into the stylish interior.
As you take position in the driver’s seat, your body is engulfed by the comfort and support from the luxury sports seats. The dashboard retains a hint of the traditional BMW layout which ensures for a comfortable driving position with the important controls easily at hand.
This particular weekend I was heading to two Michelin star chef Michael Wignall’s wedding in Bath – a journey which I couldn’t wait to get started in the i8.
Upon joining the motorway, I soon saw the car kick into action. As it is aerodynamically designed, it provided a smooth drive and clung to the road in a way I didn’t think was possible. Officially, it does 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds which at first I thought was unbelievable, but even just a slight tap to the accelerator and it responds instantly.
As a current owner of a BMW M5 – a car which perfectly suits the family and I – I have been used to a quick and responsive drive, remarkably the i8 offered all this and more. One stand out feature was the Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button which allowed me to choose from a range of driving modes, for example; COMFORT mode offers optimum balance between dynamics and efficiency, SPORT mode with ultra-intense boost function provided by the electric motor and ECO PRO mode which can be used in both all-electric mode and hybrid mode.
Every day, I’m in a busy kitchen environment creating unique dishes for my restaurants. The kitchen is the engine of any restaurant and similar to the i8, they are both high-powered and state-of-the-art with a need to be ergonomic so that everything from start to finish flows seamlessly. These attributes are what makes a successful supercar AND kitchen.
Driving along I couldn’t help but notice the passing looks from fellow motorists and pedestrians in the villages and towns we went through. I even saw a number of people taking pictures on their smartphones! My friends at the wedding were just as impressed too, with many insisting on having a sit in it and a photo of them alongside it.
As a plug-in hybrid, the i8 has a 32-litre fuel tank onboard and can cover around 300 miles on a full charge and with a full tank. The entire journey to Bath and back cost me little over £30 which for a car of this class is quite surprising.
The journey back was just as enjoyable although I was a little sad at the prospect of handing the car back. As a whole, I was completely overwhelmed by the BMW i8, everything about it was incredible and it now stands as my number one dream car.