The BMW i8 was built to show that a performance car can be green. Its complex plug-in hybrid powertrain and lightweight construction were created to deliver a pleasurable drive, with the lowest possible environmental impact.
But with its attention-getting styling, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to make the i8 a little less Portland and a little more Detroit. German tuner Gabura Racing Technologies plans to stuff the 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 from a BMW M6 into the front of an i8, reports World Car Fans.
This won’t be any ordinary V8, either. It’s been gone over by BMW tuner Alpina, and produces a claimed 800 horsepower. So while fuel economy will probably suffer, the Frankenstein i8 will probably leave the stock model in its dust. The i8 leaves the factory with a combined 357 hp from its 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine and electric motor. That allows for a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph.
The i8 isn’t the first green performance car to be targeted for a V8 conversion. VL Automotive, a company backed by former General Motors car czar Bob Lutz, tried to make a go replacing the plug-in powertrain of the Fisker Karma with a 6.2-liter Corvette V8. It even mulled doing something similar to the Tesla Model S.
BMW itself was even rumored to be considering a more conventional performance car based on the i8. The car would have been built to celebrate BMW’s upcoming centennial, and would have been the brand’s first true supercar since the now-legendary M1.
However, in a recent interview with Auto Motor und Sport, BMW product chief Klaus Fröhlich did not forecast any supercars. He said BMW isn’t interested in building a conventional supercar with a larger internal-combustion engine, and that current battery technology won’t allow for a higher-performance plug-in hybrid or all-electric car. BMW expects lighter batteries to appear soon, and won’t consider a new supercar until they do, Fröhlich said.