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The BMW i8 Should’ve Always Had 16 Cylinders and a 14,800-RPM Redline Like This

From the team that built the IndyCar V8-powered BMW E30 comes an i8 that makes that look tame.
BMW i8 hill climb race car
HillClimbFans on YouTube

The BMW i8 was a brilliant-looking car whose performance never measured up to its supercar looks—or its price, for that matter. But at last, a German race team is bringing out the i8’s unrealized best, and in the most unhinged way possible. It’s cramming four BMW race bike engines into one car to make a 16-cylinder hillclimb racer that’ll rev to almost 15,000 rpm.

Debuting over the summer to little fanfare, this BMW i8 is the work of Team Edlinger, which Hill Climb Fans reports is behind that Indycar V8-powered E30 (or 320 IRL). Despite the team’s fondness for the renowned E30 platform, the E30’s shape limits its aero performance, which becomes crucial in no-holds-barred hill climb racing. So, staying within the bounds of Bimmers, Edlinger opted for an upgrade: the sleeker i8.

But gone is the stock 1.5-liter three-cylinder hybrid drivetrain, which originally made just 357 horsepower. In goes a quartet of 999cc inline-fours out of the BMW HP4 Race motorcycle, each powering a single wheel. They’re joined by a complex system of electronics and a four-two-one titanium exhaust, which probably makes it sound like an old BRM V16 Formula 1 engine. It reportedly makes F1-tier power too—880 hp combined. That’ll be quite a handful in a car that only weighs about 2,200 pounds.

The rest of its chassis is reportedly built to a similarly extreme standard, with an LMP1-derived cockpit and crash structures of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer and honeycombed aluminum. The brakes consist of six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears, both clamping on ceramic rotors, while the shocks are adjustable Sachs units. All the aero is being developed in-house to maximize front downforce and make the rear as efficient as possible.

This ultimate i8 is being built to take on hill climbs, with the Goodwood Festival of Speed potentially being in the cards one day. So might European Time Attack masters, as hill climb cars are well-suited to this discipline too. But I think we can all agree on one thing: None of us wanna wait another day to hear this rev to redline.

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