Scottish Tennis player Andy Murray, currently ranked number three in the world, has an interesting car history. After buying a Volkswagen Polo shortly after passing his driving test aged 21, Murray soon used his hard-earned winnings to buy a far more lavish £100,000+ Ferrari F430. Complaining that the F430 made him “feel like a bit of a prat,” Murray swapped his bright red Ferrari for a more sophisticated Aston Martin DB9 in 2010, a car which he claims elicited a more civil response from other motorists and tied in nicely with his life-long passion with James Bond.
Since then, he’s owned a Jaguar XKR and spent some time behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne, admitting the reliable German runabout he first purchased after passing his test is his favourite car.
Over the weekend in Munich, Germany, Murray’s three-set 7:6 (4), 5:7, 7:6 (4) victory against German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the BMW Open by FWU AG — or the International Tennis Championships of Bavaria to use its original name — saw him add a new car to his family collection: a brand-new 2016 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
Powered by a 96 kilowatt electric motor on the front axle and a twin-turbocharged 1.5-litre, 231-horsepower, 3-cylinder gasoline engine driving the rear wheels, the BMW i8 is BMW’s current flagship plug-in model. Built using lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced plastics, it can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds with an electronically-limited top speed of 75 mph in electric only or 155 mph in hybrid mode.
On paper, BMW claims an all-electric range of between 15 and 22 miles per charge, depending on road conditions and driving style, powered by the i8’s built-in 7.0 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Recharging takes 2 hours to 80 percent from a domestic charging station, while domestic charging takes between 2.5 hours and 4 hours, depending on the voltage available.
A two-plus-two coupe, the BMW i8’s most striking feature is its large butterfly doors, which hinge up and forwards of the car to allow access and also provide the BMW i8 with its sweeping sports car lines.
Launched last summer as a 2015 model year car with a list price in excess of $136,650, the BMW i8 has been in strong demand ever since, partly due to the limited original production numbers set by BMW before its launch. In fact, in certain markets, the waiting list to own a BMW i8 is more than a year long.
For 27-year old Andy Murray however, that won’t be a problem. After taking the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid for a short spin on the centre court, Murray and his new car are hopefully now out on the road somewhere, giving the professional sportsman his first proper taste of what a plug-in car can do.
The 100th anniversary of the inaugural International Tennis Championships of Bavaria, this year’s prize was certainly well worth the effort for Murray. Next year, BMW — the FWU AG’s current automotive sponsor — turns 100 too.
“We have had a very entertaining week of tennis,” said Peter van Binsbergen, head of sales and marketing at BMW Germany. “The BMW Open held the spectators under its spell with a great display of top-class international tennis. Congratulations to Andy Murray on his victory at the 100th anniversary of this tournament. We now look ahead with great joy to 2016 and the next anniversary: the 100th anniversary of BMW. I hope Andy Murray enjoys driving the BMW i8. The spectacular sports car of the future was the ideal car for the winner of a remarkable tournament.”
We’re curious as to what next year’s prize will be, but in the meantime, there’s one lesson we can all learn from this.
If you want a high-performance plug-in car and don’t want to join the waiting list, take up professional sport.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.