Son's Automotive Group Compares 2017 BMW i8 VS 2017 Audi R8 Near Tucker, GA

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2017 BMW i8

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2017 BMW i8

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2017 Audi R8

Safety Comparison

The i8 has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The R8 doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The i8 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The R8 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the i8 and the R8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty Comparison

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i8 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the R8.

There are over 17 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the i8’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 14th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The i8’s 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. hybrid produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (420 vs. 398) than the R8 V10’s standard 5.2 DOHC V10. The i8’s 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. hybrid produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (420 vs. 413) than the R8 V10 Plus Coupe’s standard 5.2 DOHC V10.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the R8 (80 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 14 city/22 hwy). The i8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the R8 (28 city/29 hwy vs. 14 city/22 hwy).

The i8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 14 miles. The R8 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the i8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The R8 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the i8’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The R8 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i8 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the R8.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the i8’s wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the R8 (110.2 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i8 is .2 inches wider in the front and 4.8 inches wider in the rear than on the R8.

The i8’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.8% to 51.2%) than the R8’s (42.2% to 57.8%). This gives the i8 more stable handling and braking.

Chassis Comparison

The design of the BMW i8 amounts to more than styling. The i8 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .26 Cd. That is significantly lower than the R8 (.34 to .36). A more efficient exterior helps the i8 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the i8 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the i8 is quieter than the R8 V10 Plus Coupe:




At idle

40 dB

48 dB


87 dB

91 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

72 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The i8 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the R8 can only carry 2.

The i8 has .2 inches more front headroom and 1.6 inches more front shoulder room than the R8.

Ergonomics Comparison

The i8 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The R8 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The i8 has a standard heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The R8 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the i8 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The R8 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The i8 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The i8’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The R8 doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Recommendations Comparison

The i8 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The R8 has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW i8 outsold the Audi R8 by almost four to one during the 2016 model year.

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