A Bavarian match made in heaven

A Bavarian match made in heaven

Petra Wetzel, the Bavarian-born founder of WEST brewery, takes the electric BMW i8 for a spin and falls in love all over again.

“I like my men like I like my cars: fast and powerful and a new model every year.” This is the quote emblazoned across a mug my oldest friend gave me in my early teens and now I wonder whether it was a sign of things to come. Now aged 40, I am a petrol-head and a commitment-phobe. I am also the perfect age to be having a midlife crisis and buy an expensive car (I like to do things differently so in actual fact I bought a speedboat instead – Super Air Nautique review anyone?)

To my mind, car reviews in BQ were written by blokes: men in suits and boys with toys. Hence why I sent the magazine an email and offered my driving and writing skills. I was “made” in Bavaria, the land of BMW. On paper this makes for perfect synergy to review the i8, but Germans culture some ridiculous stereotypes and BMW drivers get a bad name in my native land. Nobody in the Wetzel family has ever owned a BMW. They drive the German cars with Olympic rings instead… so I was ready to be wooed. And trust me wooed I was!

The BMW i8 is the sort of car which women with large rear ends will adore. It has an enormous backside and looks sexy with it. The i8 is also the only car I have ever loved in white, which I often find is a non-colour for cars. It looks understated, elegant, somewhat futuristic but also timeless. As first impressions go, I was smitten. As a full-time mum and dog owner and part-time golfer, however, my practical side got the better of me when I realised the boot space of the i8 is as big as a Range Rover’s glove compartment.

That aside, the scissor doors are ultra slick and funky (I have never had more nine-year old boys tell me I was THE coolest mum at the school gate) but they should come with two warnings: 1. Never wear a mini skirt and 2. always carry a passenger with you to be able to help you out of the car.

BMW I8 Montage

Once inside, at first I am not sure whether the cockpit feels refreshingly simple or disappointingly ordinary. However, after a day’s driving I am taken by the simplicity of it all. In theory, it helps you concentrate on the road ahead, but as you will find out shortly, that is just in theory! Having never written a car review before, I Googled a recent review of my assigned car and rifled my son Noah’s Top Gear back catalogue. What I found was that ‘proper’ car reviews can be seriously dull and unless you have a real desire to become an engineering nerd, a test drive would be so much more exciting! I also think some of the boys who have written recent i8 reviews got it wrong.

Some reviews argue that the i8 is a brilliant car for straight roads but performs below its peers in corners. I bet you any money none of these men got carried away with the adrenaline of driving the i8, turned (while chatting to their colleague) into a one-way street in Glasgow facing four lanes of oncoming traffic and in 1.6 seconds had to perform a three-point turn. Trust me, the i8 turns beautifully. 

Now get ready for the vital statistics. I am told that the i8 reaches 62mph in 4.4 seconds. I’m not going to pretend that I calculated this on my outings as, quite frankly, I was having too much of a great time just driving the thing without worrying about the numbers.

What did enter my mind though was something my son had said that morning when he likened the engine size of the i8 to that of a food blender. Yes it is very small – but the addition of a 129bhp electric motor, which is linked up to lithium ion batteries, makes ALL the difference when whizzing up and down the M8. I’ll admit I was thankful for that little engine as it acted as safety cord in case of not finding any charging points in Glasgow city centre.

Luckily this was not the case but it did make me think that should I invest in the i8, I would want to see a few more of them around the town. This is where my practical side snuck in again. Could I really justify doing the school run etc. in a luxury sports car? Not really! BUT, the i8 only LOOKS like a supercar with its actual overheads resembling more of
a home-brewing operation. And so despite early protestations, by 5pm my son had
fallen in love with this sleek petrol/electro hybrid and I too was completely taken in
by the whole package.

Would I spend £100,000 buying myself a BMW i8? I wish I still believed in Santa!

West Brewery Bar and Restaurant is in Templeton Building at Glasgow Green.
For brewery tour enquiries email brewerytour@westbeer.com or call 0141 550 0135.

The car Petra drove was a BMW i8 1.5i priced at £102,010 (after government subsidy). Thanks to Edinburgh’s Luxury Car Village, Newbridge, Edinburgh, Mid Lothian, EH288SP. Tel:0844 375 1669