BMW i8: 2-Stage Gloss Enhancement Treatment

Launched in 2014 and dubbed by many as the most exciting hybrid ever made, the BMW i8 was a groundbreaking car when you consider the rivals it would be competing within the luxury sports car category. Authentic supercar looks with impressive performance were now co-mingling with economy and efficiency.

The gull-winged i8 uses a 1.5L three-cylinder engine together with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Together, they distribute power to all four wheels and generate 357 BHP, taking you to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds. You’ll even get a combined 78 mpg when you’re feeling light-footed. All very impressive and when it’s time to recharge the battery, a full charge is completed in just 1.5 hours.

Five years after it launched, seeing an i8 is a bit of a rarity on the roads, so we were excited about the arrival of this 2016 model to our Brands Hatch Studio.

Choosing the right service

The owner of this white 2016 Coupe contacted us for advice on some of the problem areas that had developed on the vehicle.

As with most vehicles that visit us, it is not until you inspect with the help of a powerful studio light do you really understand the level of treatment or correction that will be necessary.

BMW i8
BMW i8

A studio appraisal of the i8 determined that the swirling, and in some places, over-spray meant a 2-Stage Gloss Enhancement service should be the tonic to see the vehicle return to its show-stopping best.

Pre-Wash Preparation

With the i8 being a daily driver, the build-up of dirt, tar and other contaminants on the white paintwork were not actually as aggressive as one would anticipate, meaning the pre-wash and wash sections of the process required somewhat less agitation than previous 4 wheeled visitors to our studio.

We initiated the i8’s treatment with decontamination of the wheels and paintwork using Gtechniq W6 Iron & General Fall Out Remover.

This particular fall out remover is suitable for the i8 in that it will not compromise the clearcoat finish in any way, but it will work away at contamination which is stubborn and not immediately obvious to the naked eye. After a few minutes, the white paint soon starts to show smatterings of the purple solution as it eats away at the iron contaminants.

BMW i8
BMW i8

The i8 has lots of sudden curves and crevices for Ultimate Snow Foam to seep into, but the harder to access areas or spots of thicker decontamination are treated with a Swisswax Detailing Brush to ensure no area goes untreated.

Once the foam is rinsed away and the car is thoroughly washed and dried using the BigBoi Pro Touchless Car Dryer, we get the i8 into the studio and on to the ramps.

BMW i8
BMW i8

Hard paint and dealing with the heat

When you are dealing with rock-solid paint, understanding what type of pad/compound combination will actually make an impact is the first thing our detailers are looking to establish.

They begin the polishing process using a Rupes Wool Pad and a Menzerna Heavy Cut Compound 400. After a few passes it soon becomes clear that this combination on the i8’s hard lacquer finish is causing too much heat build-up, which in turn is making the pads impact less efficient.

The solution was to carry out a single pass with the wool pads and 400 compound, then move on to alternative combinations for the 2nd and 3rd passes.

BMW i8
Rupes Mini

RUPES UHS Easy Gloss proved a good fit for removing the final few swirls on the second and third pass without producing the same level of heat as the wool/400 combination. The steady cut provided with UHS means a steadier and gradual impact on the white paint.

The i8 is worked on with two variations of Rupes Machine Polishers. More intricate sections receive attention from a LHR 75E Mini and 4″ UHS Grey Polishing Pad. Then for the bigger sections of the bodywork, a Rupes LHR 15ES MARK III with a 6″ UHS Grey Polishing Pad.

UHS Easy Gloss
UHS Easy Gloss

Refining and finishing

After completing the correction process, the i8 is already looking terrific. So much so that you’d be hard-pressed to think it could be improved noticeably further – but it soon is. We finished up by refining with Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 which removes any remaining holograms or buffer trails that were in place from the correction stages. The i8’s sparkling white coat was now back to its absolute best.

The paintwork is then treated with Nanolex EX. This is a slow evaporation residue remover to eliminate any polish residues, prior to the application of ENREI, Kamikaze Collection’s flagship two-step ceramic coating. The No. 1 Base Coat provides a uniform layer with a high chemical affiliation for the No. 2 Top Coat.

Once finished the level of longevity provided from the Kamikaze treatment is unrivalled. The i8’s sparkling white meringue-like coat was now back to its absolute best.

BMW i8
BMW i8
BMW i8
BMW i8

Featured Products Used

Rupes Mini

Rupes Bigfoot LHR 75E Mini £250

  • 75mm (3″) for small and intricate areas
  • Built with the Detailing professionals & enthusiasts in mind
  • Corrects paintwork like a rotary, but with all the safety of a Dual Action
Rupes Grey Polishing Pads

Rupes Foam UHS Grey Polishing Pads £6

  • For scratch resistant & high solid ceramic paints
  • Removes imperfections
  • Leaves high-gloss finish

Rupes UHS Easy Gloss Compound £9.95

  • Designed for use with RUPES BigFoot Random Orbital Polishers
  • Works on the new generation of scratch resistant clear coats
  • Silicon and filler-free

Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 £11.50

  • Contains finest polishing abrasives
  • Leaves a show car gloss finish
  • Minimal dust generation

UF Plush Finishing Microfibre

Ultimate Finish Super Plush Finishing Microfibre £8.95

  • Thick, luxury finishing microfibre
  • High microfibre weight for ultimate shine
  • Also suitable for removing polish residues & quick detailers

Want your vehicle’s appearance cosmetically enhanced or protected? To discuss the most appropriate detailing treatment call 01474 360 360 or complete the online enquiry form here. We provide a bespoke, no-obligation quote via email.

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