BMW Hands Over First Production BMW i8 Plug-in Hybrid Sports Coupes At Pebble Beach

Exclusive doesn’t come close to describing the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Aside from the extremely rare, extremely desirable classic cars driven or flown in from around the world for the weekend-long event, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance attracts some of the world’s most wealthy car fans eager to either celebrate the love of everything automotive

BMW has delivered the first of its production i8s to equally prestigious customers at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

BMW has delivered the first of its production i8s to equally prestigious customers at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

With a list of reservation holders for its i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe almost as exclusive as the attendees at this year’s Concours d’Elegance, it made sense for German automaker BMW to use the event as the perfect chance to personally deliver the first production i8 models to U.S. customers.

Among them, auto dealer moguls and race team owners Roger Penske of Penske Automotive and Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Automotive; Tony Fadell, the CEO and Founder of Nest; Miles Nadal of advertising company MDC Partners and Patrick Washcberger, Co-Chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.

In total, seven cars were delivered at the exclusive Pebble Beach event, with those picking up their $135,000 cars being treated to a special dinner on Friday evening at BMW’s Concours d’Elegance villa, hosted by world-renowned Chef Thomas Keller. As well as providing the hospitality, Keller was in attendance to pick up his very own BMW i8.

The next day, well-known car collector and plug-in fan Jay Leno auctioned off a one-off special edition of the BMW i8, called the BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance. Specially designed for the event, the i8 Concours d’elegance features a unique one-off interior, paint and badging and was sold for a winning bid of $825,000 — more than six times the standard base-model price of the 2014 BMW i8.

While neither BMW nor auctioneers Gooding & Company disclosed the identity of the final buyer, we can tell you that the proceeds of the auction went directly to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation, which supports numerous youth projects in Monterey County, where Pebble Beach is located.

The BMW i8 is now a car you'll see on the roads of the U.S.

The BMW i8 is now a car you’ll see on the roads of the U.S.

Of course, accompanied by number of key company CEOs — not to mention multiple NASCAR team owners — we imagine that BMW is likely rather pleased with the official launch of its halo plug-in hybrid.

With a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds, a top speed of 155 mph, and an official EPA combined fuel economy of 76 mpge U.S., the BMW i8 is certainly a performance car first and a plug-in hybrid second. In fact, with an all-electric range of just 15 miles per charge from a 5.2 kilowatt-hours of useable battery pack capacity, the i8 won’t be making any all-electric inter-city trips like Tesla’s popular Model S luxury sedan.

There was an exclusive dinner at the BMW Villa at Pebble Beach to celebrate the launch

There was an exclusive dinner at the BMW Villa at Pebble Beach to celebrate the launch

Then again, the BMW i8 isn’t meant to appeal to the same type of buyers as the Tesla Model S. Instead of being a car for the electric car fan, the BMW i8 is designed as a slightly cleaner, greener collector’s sports car. Designed to use its electric motor to improve its fuel economy rather than break any range records, the BMW i8 still burns gasoline on a regular basis.

Regardless of that fact however, we’re hopeful the BMW i8 will at least turn some buyers who traditionally wouldn’t consider an electric car onto the joys of all-electric motoring. Even if it is just for fifteen miles per charge, which we note is just a little more than the all-electric range of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

What do you think of the BMW i8? Do you think it’s a car to encourage more people to plug-in, or do you think it’s just a status car for the wealthy?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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