BMW celebrated the US launch of its all-new i8 plug-in sports car in style this past weekend. With the help of Jay Leno, the German automaker auctioned off a one-of-a-kind i8 at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach. When all was said and done, the specially treated i8 fetched the better part of a million dollars.
The i8 "Concours d'Elegance Edition" gained its one-off status from the special suit it showed up to Pebble Beach in. That suit was colored Individual Frozen Grey Metallic on the outside, with a Dalbergia Brown leather interior. Other unique touches inside included i Blue accenting, “Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Edition” laser etchings and "BMW i8"-embossed front headrests.
The car was also billed as the very first in the US with laser headlight technology, but that particular detail was awaiting US government approval the last time BMW mentioned it (the automaker said the laser lights could be retrofitted after delivery if need be).
When Gooding & Company dropped the gavel for the final time on the i8 on Saturday evening, it rung up an US$825,000 price. BMW calls that price record-breaking, but the record is merely for the highest price of an auctioned i8, so not exactly a monumental shake-up of the books. The proceeds from the sale are going to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation, which raises funds for Monterey County youth and distributes arts, athletics, environmental sciences, educational and community grants.
In addition to the auction winner, several other i8 buyers were presented with their cars during the Pebble Beach festivities. A group of businessmen that included Roger Penske, Chairman of Penske Corporation, and Rick Hendrick, Chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, took delivery at the event. That group of cars shows how the i8 looks in a number of colors not named "Individiual Frozen Grey Metallic."
The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid bridges the worlds of Earth-hugging efficiency and track-scarring performance. Its 360-hp (268-kW) powertrain combines the output of a rear-driving 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder engine and front-driving electric motor. That team provides enough oomph for a 4.2-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprint and enough electricity for up to 20 miles (32 km) of zero-emissions driving, helping it arrive at an EPA-estimated 76 mpg-e fuel economy.
We've had almost five years to cover the evolution of the i8 from concept car to delivery. You can read plenty more about it in our in-depth look from this past May, see what it looked like under the lights of last year's Frankfurt Motor Show and compare it to the original Vision EfficientDynamics concept car.
If you're interested in car auctions, be sure to check out our Concours d'Elegance auction coverage for more on the record-breaking events.