2019 BMW i8 vs. 2019 Nissan GT-R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the BMW i8 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Nissan GT-R doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The i8 has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The GT-R doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The i8 has a standard Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The GT-R only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The i8 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The GT-R doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the i8 and the GT-R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The i8 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The GT-R’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The i8’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GT-R’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i8 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GT-R.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 6 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the i8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GT-R (68 city/70 hwy MPGe vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the i8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the GT-R (26 city/29 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

The i8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The GT-R must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the i8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GT-R doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the i8’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The GT-R doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

The i8 stops shorter than the GT-R:

 

i8

GT-R

 

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

104 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i8 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 4.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GT-R.

The i8’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.8% to 51.2%) than the GT-R’s (54.6% to 45.4%). This gives the i8 more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

The BMW i8 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 400 pounds less than the Nissan GT-R.

Passenger Space

The i8 Coupe has .6 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room and 1.8 inches more rear legroom than the GT-R.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 33% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

The i8 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The GT-R doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the i8, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The GT-R doesn’t offer a memory system.

The i8 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GT-R doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the i8 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the GT-R can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The i8’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The GT-R’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the i8 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The GT-R doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the i8 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The GT-R doesn’t offer cornering lights. The i8 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The i8’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The GT-R’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

When the i8 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The GT-R’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The i8 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The GT-R has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Model Availability

The BMW i8 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Nissan GT-R isn’t available as a convertible.

Recommendations

The i8 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The GT-R has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW i8 outsold the Nissan GT-R by 43% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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