It seems like last week that BMW shocked the world with the concept i8 in 2012. The sleek mid-engined coupe seemed a decade away from production. Yet a few years later I was behind the wheel of a car barely different than that original concept. Sales (and values) never quite met the expectations many had but there’s little question the i8 is an incredible car not just to look at but to drive as well.
To celebrate the final 18 BMW worked with buyers to tailor their individual cars. The results are 18 unique i8s unlike any we’ve seen before. A fitting send-off to a great car.
OFFICIAL RELEASE: The Final 18 BMW I8s Ever
Austin Yellow. British Racing Green. Le Mans Blue. The last 18 BMW i8 vehicles left BMW Group Plant Leipzig today as their future owners looked on. Each car was a one-off created in close collaboration with the customer. “The degree of customisation in these vehicles threw up some major logistical and process challenges,” said Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser. “But our i production unit has proved yet again that nothing is impossible.”
Manufacturing a BMW i8 is in itself a feat of modern automotive construction, owing to the vehicle concept, drive technology, and unique mix of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminium. But the final 18 special models presented the i8 production team with particular challenges on top: each one was finished in a paintwork colour that had previously not been applied to the outer skin components of a BMW i8. Painting such a large number of exterior parts in the specified colour made production and logistics far more complex. Manufactured and painted virtually by hand by a range of suppliers and at BMW Group Plant Landshut, the challenge lay in getting the components to the production line in full premium quality. And with each part being the only one of this colour in existence and highly complex to reproduce, the utmost care and precision were required in logistics and throughout series vehicle production.
“Yet again, we have proved our ability to meet the highly discerning standards and personal specifications of our customers with unique solutions and unparalleled skill,” said Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser. “For BMW i8 production to end with a finale like this is something we can all be very proud of.” The final vehicles also have customised components in their interiors, such as Alcantara covers for seats and steering wheels, and special trim strips and fascia panels.
The customers in Plant Leipzig today – some of whom were members of the BMW i8 Club International – were on location to see their vehicles leave the factory gates and be handed over to vehicle logistics. Claus-Dieter Bachmann, President of the BMW i8 Club, described the day at the plant as a “highlight for our club members”. The unique vehicles, he said, are the “dream cars” of their future owners, adding: “The BMW Group and Plant Leipzig have enabled something truly outstanding.”