Used car buying guide: BMW i8

An owner’s view

David Leney: “I love my i8, especially its handling and refinement. I’ve owned it for five years and it’s never given me any major trouble. The electric range is realistically only 18 miles and visibility can be a problem. Servicing isn’t too expensive, but electrics seem to be a thing, with warning lights occasionally popping on and off. I thought about the Roadster but it cost more and you lose the rear seats, and my children used to love doing the school run in the car.”

Buyer beware

Engine: The engine is based on the 1.5-litre unit in the Mini Cooper. So it’s reliable and the six-speed automatic gearbox is robust. There have been issues with the fuel pressure sensor, which is prone to failure. One or two owners have reported engine failure, but the vast majority noted excellent reliability. 

Warnings of a low coolant level when the levels are correct suggest a sensor issue. There have also been reports of problems with overheating and a few complaints about the central controller. 

Brakes: Most parts prices for an i8 can be expensive, but consumables are generally okay. For instance, front brake pads should cost you no more than those for a 3 Series. 

Body: As a sports car with a six-figure price when new, the i8 is the kind of model that owners tend to cherish. Even so, it’s worth checking the wheels for scrapes and scratches, looking for bodywork damage (particularly around the doors, which require a lot of space to open) and ensuring the tyres are in good condition. 

Many owners find the butterfly doors can be a pain. The door struts have been known to fail and cost a lot of money to repair, so check carefully when buying. Some fuel tank covers have been sticky too, refusing to open. 

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