BMW i8 and new M5 spied by CAR reader in Monaco | CAR Magazine

BMW i8 and new M5 spied by CAR reader in Monaco

Published: 21 May 2013 Updated: 26 January 2015

In the week leading up the 2013 Monaco F1 Grand Prix, you’d expect to see some exotic cars patrolling the principality’s streets – but perhaps not camouflaged sporty BMW test mules. That’s exactly what CAR reader Matthew Stanton spotted on Monaco’s Rue Grimaldi, outside the headquarters of British yachtmakers Sunseeker.

Are those hard-working BMW test-drivers taking a break in the casino?

More likely this is a canny parade to generate interest in two of BMW’s priciest models amongst the discerning clientele of Monaco’s car-buying public. The disguised M5 (given away by the side vent, deep side skirts and larger front bumper) has now been revealed in upgraded Competition spec, and will cost around £75,000.

What about the low-slung sports car mule?

It’s the new BMW i8. It’ll sit atop BMW’s forthcoming ‘i’ range of hybrids, and will likely cost more than £80,000. If that sounds like a lot of wedge for a three-cylinder hybrid, don’t forget that the i8 will offer BMW M3 levels of performance thanks to its lightweight carbonfibre construction and high-torque 170bhp electric motors. The turbocharged petrol engine develops 223bhp – when twinned with the electric motor it powers the i8 to 62mph in 4.9sec, and to 155mph flat out.

It’ll also be capable of running on silent electric power only, and returning a combined 104mpg. The i8s you see here were using their petrol motors: eagle-eyed snapper Matthew told us, “The noise from the front car was fantastic.”

We expected we’ll see the production-spec i8 at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013. It’ll be joined at the show by the showroom ready i3 hatchback – click here to read CAR’s early passenger ride in the new BMW i3.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish