BMW's i8 is the kind of gorgeous, $140,000 sports car that most of us will never get to own. It's packed with supercar tech like a carbon fiber passenger cell and a turbocharged, hybrid powertrain that kicks out Porsche-beating acceleration and Prius-like fuel economy. But it's not just an engineer's flight of fancy, nor a frivolous toy for the wealthy: as Jalopnik's Damon Lavrinc explains, it's the first step towards a new automotive paradigm, a peek at the future of the automobile.

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