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In 2011, the BMW i8 Concept plug-in hybrid electric vehicle was unveiled at the International Motor Show Germany and featured in the blockbuster film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. With its futuristic design and bold color scheme, the car was truly a sight to be seen; however, as the electric supercar was the product of the automaker’s nascent BMW i division, it remained to be seen if the car had the substance to match its style.

Once the i8 was offered for model year 2014, it quickly sold out. There were a total of 728 i8 registrations filled in the U.S. during the 2014 calendar year. To this day, BMW’s top-of-the-line electric vehicle remains a hot item. With the car in such short supply, getting your hands on one is quite a challenge for those not financially well-positioned. Luckily, I was able to get behind the wheel of BMW’s popular creation at an International Motor Press Association driving event last month. I now understand what all of the fuss is about.

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With an average typically-equipped MSRP of $138,650, the i8 finds itself at a price point where many other high-performance supercars exist, but models in the plug-in hybrid or electric mold are few and far between.

Regardless of the powertrain type, the i8 is a powerful vehicle. The lightweight carbon thermoplastic skin wraps a power plant touting a combined 357 horsepower and 420 lb-foot of torque. The eyebrow-raising figures help shoot the vehicle from 0 – 60 mph in a manufacturer-estimated 4.5 seconds.

Despite its spaceship-like appearance, the vehicle’s driving experience mimics that of gas-powered performance cars; feedback is sent to the driver during acceleration and shifting, and handling is superb thanks to the car’s low center of gravity. The otherwise quiet exhaust note is enhanced by a synthesized simulation of engine sound, which emanates through the cabin’s speakers. The result is an aural experience not expected in a plug-in hybrid electric car.

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Of course, the BMW i8 is not without its drawbacks. Limited truck space and cramped rear seats make the car fairly impractical, though this is par for the course regarding many supercars. What is probably most ironic, however, is that while the demographic for this i8 is likely a high-earning older male, the car’s extremely low-slung ride height (exuding comically poor ingress and egress characteristics) are enough to induce aches and pains upon all but the youngest (and most flexible) of drivers. Nevertheless, when it comes to assessing the vehicle’s value in the marketplace, retention is a very strong indicator where the BMW i8 shines.

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Looking at a comparison of model year 2014 vehicles, the BMW i8 retains a whopping 92.6% of its average typically-equipped MSRP after one year, easily besting two of its closest alternative powertrain competitors, the Tesla Model S Performance and Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid. As perhaps a testament to the value of the BMW brand, even the i8’s non-supercar sibling, the BMW i3, exhibits better value retention than the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf by sizeable margins.

It is unclear how much effect supply has on each model’s used car values. There is little evidence of correlation between registration volume and value retention among the electric cars. The relative newness of the two BMW models could be inflating the retention figures somewhat, although it can’t be determined how much of a factor that is playing. At least for the time being, the automaker’s i division is undoubtedly the cream of the crop in the electric vehicle market, which is a great achievement for the Bavarian car company. Whether that dominance continues to be the case in a few years is unknown, yet the future of electric cars at BMW appears to be bright, indeed.