The BMW i8 is slower than you might’ve thought

BMW tuner AC Schnitzer has, with much fanfare and many exclamation marks, revealed racing-driver Markus Oestreich lapped the Nürburgring in 8 minutes, 19.8 seconds in an i8 modified with its lowered suspension, lightweight alloy wheels and aero kit.

That’s quite slow. About 37 seconds slower than a Honda Civic Type R, the front-wheel drive record-holder (which is less powerful, but some 180kg lighter), and slower even than the RenaultSport Megane R26.R, which did an 8:17 nine years ago, kicking off the whole front-drive record thing as it did so.

Admittedly the BMW i8 was never really designed for going quickly around a track – and the Megane and Civic very much are – but that begs the question: why would AC Schnitzer bother? Why would it waste time, and money, setting a laptime – a ‘record’ for an i8, allegedly – that is neither hugely relevant nor particularly quick?

But more importantly, why is the i8 so slow? Tyres? Weight? Something to do with the hybrid system? Are the spoilers and skirts AC Schnitzer’s made from lead masquerading as carbon fibre? Is Markus Oestreich an imposter?

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