We’ve done many competitive comparisons, such as the Audi Q5 vs BMW X3, but we haven’t written a sports car comparison, until now. In this article, we will be going over the many differences and few similarities between the Audi R8 vs BMW i8. We’ll be covering topics like performance, size, price, common problems, and more. The purpose of this article is to assist any readers in choosing which sports car is best based on many categories. The Audi R8 is classified as a 2-door sports car, while the BMW i8 is classified as a 2-door plug-in hybrid sports car.
BMW i8 vs Audi R8 – The Basics
The Audi R8 was first introduced in 2006 and is still in production today. Since its inception, the R8 has had two different generations: MK1 and MK2. Both generations are built on the same platform that the Lamborghini Gallardo and the Huracan are built on. Globally, the R8 has sold over 40,000 units. Random fact, the Audi R8 was the first production car equipped with full-LED headlamps back in 2007.
The BMW i8 was first introduced in 2014 and, unlike the Audi R8, is not being produced anymore. BMW discontinued production of the i8 in April of 2020. Globally, BMW only sold about 20,000 units in its production phase. In 2013, the i8 spyder won the Best Production Preview Vehicle award. In 2014, Top Gear awarded the i8 as its Car of the Year. And in 2015, it won the Reader’s Choice Green Car of the Year award.
Audi R8 Generations
- MK1 (Type 42) (2007 – 2015)
- MK2 (Type 4S) (2016 – Present)
BMW i8 Generations
- I12 (2014-2020)
Audi R8 vs BMW i8 Price
In this portion, we will be going over the brand new 2022 R8 prices, 2020 MSRP i8 prices, and used prices for both models.
New Audi R8 and BMW i8 Prices
In this section, we will be covering the new R8 2022 model year prices. There are two body styles Audi offers: R8 coupe and R8 Spyder. The Spyder is a convertible 2-door. There is one engine option featured in the R8: a 5.2L V10 naturally aspirated engine. It comes standard with RWD, but there is an option to upgrade to Audi’s quattro AWD system. The R8 coupe with RWD starts at $148,700, while the R8 coupe with quattro starts at $199,800. The R8 Spyder with RWD starts at $160,900, and, lastly, the R8 Spyder with quattro starts at $213,500.
In this section, we will be covering the new i8 2020 MSRP prices. Like the R8, the i8 offered two body styles: coupe and roadster. The roadster was the convertible version. The BMW i8 is a hybrid. Therefore, it was equipped with 1.5L turbocharged engine in the rear and an electric motor under the hood. It also came standard with AWD. So, a BMW i8 coupe had an MSRP of $147,500, while the i8 Roadster started at $164,295.
Used Audi R8 & BMW i8 Prices
Since the i8’s production was halted in 2020, we will be comparing the 2014-2020 used prices for the R8 and i8. Therefore, a used 2014-2020 Audi R8s price ranges from $84,995 – $229,995, with an average price of $157,495, depending on model year and mileage. A used 2014-2020 BMW i8s price ranges from $60,999-$149,986 with an average price of $105,495, depending on model year and mileage. As you can see, the Audi R8 is more expensive on the new and used side. So, is the Audi R8 worth the extra money? Let’s see below.
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General Audi R8 & BMW i8 Topics
Audi R8 vs BMW i8 Size
Although we don’t feel that this is a make or break when it comes to making a decision, it could be important to some readers out there. Therefore, we will briefly cover some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Audi R8 and the 2020 BMW i8.
Audi R8 vs BMW i8
When it comes to size, there are a few components that stick out to us and are worth reiterating. The i8 is 10″ longer and has 6″ on the R8’s wheelbase. However, something that is probably important for some is headspace, which the i8 beats out the R8 by .2″. The i8 is also 400 lbs lighter than the R8 mainly due to the bigger engine offered in the R8.
BMW i8 vs Audi R8 Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 Audi R8 and 2020 BMW i8 factory performance specs. The fun part, performance. This is likely going to be the main decider between the BMW i8 vs Audi R8.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
Audi R8 Performance
As stated above, the R8 only offers one engine: a 5.2L V10 naturally aspirated engine. It puts out different power numbers depending on the two different drivetrain options: RWD and AWD. The RWD 5.2L V10 puts out 562hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, while the AWD 5.2L V10 puts out 602hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The RWD R8 boasts an impressive 3.6 second 0-60 time with a top speed of 204mph. And the AWD R8 posts an even quicker 0-60 time of 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 205 mph. The R8 records a quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds. This engine comes standard with a 7-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Another probably uncommon factor when it comes to a sports car performance is gas mileage. However, we understand this could be important to some readers, so we will cover this quickly. Therefore, the 5.2L V10 engine gets 14mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway for a combined 17mpg on a 19.3gal fuel tank.
BMW i8 Performance
The BMW i8 is a hybrid, so it has a petrol engine and an electric motor. It features a 1.5L turbocharged inline-3 petrol engine and an electric motor. This plug-in hybrid engine puts out 369hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. For a hybrid engine, it boasts an impressive 4.2 second 0-60 time and a top speed of 158mph. The i8 records a quarter-mile time of 12.1 seconds at 116.2mph. It comes standard with AWD and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid engine gets 27 combined mpg with an 11.1gal fuel tank and 305 average total miles on the electric motor.
Audi R8 & BMW i8 Reliability and Common Problems
Is the Audi R8 reliable? Unfortunately, there isn’t enough data for other websites to specifically rate the Audi R8’s reliability. Therefore, after scrolling through many forums, we have come to the conclusion that the Audi R8 is surprisingly pretty reliable. Since you are purchasing a supercar, you can assume that the annual ownership cost of an Audi R8 is relatively high. Since the Audi R8 is pretty reliable, there is only one model year we would advise avoiding and it is the 2008 model.
Common problems seen in R8s are as followed: bearing failure, wishbone failure, carbon build-up, ignition coil failure, excessive oil consumption, and intake manifold failure. Unlike the i8, there happen to be a lot more R8 daily’s out there. Therefore, we have seen many R8s last over 60,000 miles, but preventative maintenance is a must.
Is the BMW i8 reliable? To start it off, as a brand, BMW’s reliability is not very great. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough data for other websites to specifically rate the BMW i8’s reliability. However, after scrolling through many forums, it seems the BMW i8’s reliability is decent for a complicated and unpopular build for BMW. It is to be expected that the annual ownership costs are relatively high since the i8 is a supercar. Common problems seen in i8s include electrical issues, butterfly door pains, regenerative braking not available, charging malfunctions, and common engine rattles. Since this is a supercar, we assume this isn’t a daily driver. Therefore, we have seen some problems arise over 5,000 miles.
BMW i8 vs Audi R8 – Which is Better?
The question everyone has been waiting for: which is better the BMW i8 vs Audi R8? We can give our personal opinion on this question, but other consumers are searching for different things. So, we personally like the Audi R8 over the BMW i8. This is because it is faster, sharper-looking, more reliable, and gives you the true feeling of a sports car. This is not to say we dislike the i8. The i8 is cheaper, gets better gas mileage, is a hybrid, and is slightly larger. Therefore, it is all personal preference when it comes to supercars. Are you looking for a fast supercar or a more practical supercar? Both vehicles have similar tech and safety features and have many customizable options.
We always advise before purchasing a vehicle is getting behind the wheel of the vehicles in question. So, schedule a test drive at your local BMW and Audi dealership to get first-hand experience. This will help drastically in your purchasing decision.
Audi R8 vs BMW i8 Conclusion
To wrap this article up, we know purchasing an expensive sports car can be a daunting task. Therefore, we hope the information provided above assists anyone in their purchasing decision. For those that are simply wanting a comparison between the two for fun, we hope this information has enlightened you about the BMW i8 vs Audi R8. In short, the Audi R8 wins in our eyes. If you happen to have first-hand experience with either vehicle, please leave your feedback in the comments below. This will help us with our research and help future readers make purchasing decisions.
If you want to read up on more Audi vs BMW content, here is an article about the Audi A4 vs BMW 3 Series.