BMW’s plug-in hybrid i8 is a stunning look into the future of motoring, one that combines beautiful modern styling and high-tech building materials with a wildly complex and efficient powertrain. Performance and image aside, though, the whole package can feel a bit clinical. The raucous exhaust note is artificial, for instance, and the car features more electronic wizardry than a SpaceX rocket. To give the car some warmth, Italian design house Garage Italia Customs went back in time, not forward.
The Milan-based firm has christened a one-off version of the i8 called the Futurism Edition, which is decorated with a vibrant vinyl wrap inspired by Giacomo Balla’s 1909 painting Street Light. Just like Balla’s original oil artwork, the car features sharp strokes of yellow, red, and purple over its carbon fiber body, brilliantly showcasing European artistry from past and present. Officially, the Futurism Edition is a celebration of BMW’s 50th anniversary in Italy, but for the people behind the project, it’s much more than that.
“The BMW i8 Futurism Edition is a practice of style,” said Lapo Elkann, president of Garage Italia Customs. “It gave the Garage Italia Customs Maestros a chance to celebrate a car which is projected towards the future of mobility. At the same time, it honors Italian art with Giacomo Balla, who is a prominent figure of the Futurism movement.”
Street Light is typically displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, but if you’re on the other side of the pond, you’re in luck — this special i8 is set to star in the 2016 Mille Miglia race on May 19. To drive the past and future dynamic home, the vehicle will run directly behind an iconic BMW 328 driven by BMW Italia CEO Sergio Solero.