Feature

BMW i8 vs Porsche 911

The BMW i8 hybrid looks stunning and has the potential to be amazingly cheap to run, but is it a better sports car than the Porsche 911?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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BMW i8 dashboard

What are they like inside?

Tall adults won’t struggle for head or leg room in either car, although finding the perfect driving position is easier in the BMW i8, because it has a wider range of adjustment. Visibility is good from both driving seats, something that isn’t the case in many high-end sports cars.

Both the i8 and the Porsche 911 have four seats, but in reality neither rear bench is good for more than emergencies or a couple of weekend bags. Ultimately, the i8 has more leg and shoulder room in the back and is slightly easier to access if you’re prepared to shoehorn yourself in. You won’t want to, though.

It’s a similar story for boot space; only small suitcases or a couple of soft bags will fit. That said, the 911’s nose-mounted boot is wider and deeper – despite being officially slightly smaller – so it’ll take bulkier items more easily than the i8’s. Unlike in the i8, the 911’s rear seatbacks fold, too, opening up a flat ledge that will take surprisingly long items.

The 911 has the edge in terms of interior quality. The i8’s has plenty of wow factor, with glowing blue strips and a striking design, but it’s disappointing that the fixtures, fittings and materials are similar to those in much cheaper BMWs. The 911’s leather stitching and chrome accents round off an extremely well put together dashboard with substantial-feeling controls.

The Porsche can’t match the BMW’s infotainment system, though, because iDrive is the best on sale today. There are two 8.8-inch screens, one displaying speed, revs and remaining charge behind the steering wheel, and the other sat-nav and infotainment. The latter is operated through a rotary controller and buttons between the front seats and has bright, crisp graphics and logical menus.

The 911’s infotainment system includes a single seven-inch touch-screen flanked by buttons. The graphics are dated, though, and there are simply too many buttons on the dash and centre console, making it difficult to find the right one when you’re on the move.

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Review

Porsche 911

What Car? SaysRated 5 out of 5
Owners sayRated 5 out of 5

A fantastic sports car and one of the few you can live with every day. The Audi R8 might be more theatrical than the Turbo models, but the lower-end 911 models are world-class, and define the sports car category.