In a bit of Krampus-style finger-in-the-eye pranking, Gabura Racing Technologies GmbH, a a small racing tuner based in Munich, is gutting an i8 plug-in hybrid and inserting the 500-horsepower V8 out of the M5 sedan. And the latter is tuned, for good measure, to 800 hp. This non-electrifying makeover will birth the so-called Gabura GRT V8i, and the tiny 1.5-liter, rear-mounted gas three-cylinder motor goes away, replaced by the massive 4.4-liter V8 under the hood.
There’s even a wink here for Bimmer-philes.
Putting the “i” at the end of the name feints away from BMW’s proud work of reinventing the electric car, complete with sourcing carbon fiber from a hydro-powered plant in Washington State and finding vegetable-based materials for the interior… and back toward the proud tradition of cooking fossil fuels into horizon-bending propulsion.
Beyond the green vs. not-even-slightly-green “optics,” this isn’t much of an i8, even down to the chassis.
Gabura used its motorsport know-how to impart the look of an i8, but this is a wholly new carbon monocoque that’s several inches wider than the original body, and supported by a tubular space-frame. The engine is stuffed in the front as near to the firewall as possible to partially balance weight distribution, and power is funneled to a six-speed sequential gearbox with integrated differential. The suspension is said to be racing-stiff, and optimized for track use, but the exhaust and emissions will be street legal, at least in relatively NOx-tolerant Europe.
Hand-wring all you want over the un-eco messaging. We’re talking about maybe 10 of these cars seeing the light of day, tops. Got beef with the Gabura GRT V8i? BMW will gladly sell you an i8.