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BMW's 'i NEXT' model will be the firm's 'spearhead of innovation' by 2020

bmw i  roadster and next ces concept

BMW i8 Roadster CES Concept

Yesterday, we reported that BMW plans to add two, larger battery versions of its i3 model to its i-Series range. Now it appears the EV lineup will expand in other ways as well, starting in 2018.

Autocar is reporting that both a roadster version of the i8 sports car (which has been teased several times by now) and something called the i NEXT will roll out in the coming years. As recent as the Consumer Electronics Show in January, BMW showed a concept version of the i8 Roadster and in 2018, the production version will be revealed.

The final product should look very similar to the original 2012 concept and the doorless version that was shown at CES. Expect performance and technical specifications to match the coupe i8, meaning a 1.5-liter three-cylinder will be paired with an electric motor for a combined 357 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph run of less than 4.5 seconds.

Related: BMW’s i3 Range Will Expand To Four Versions

Following the i8 Roadster’s introduction, BMW will reveal the i NEXT, which has been described as the “new spearhead of innovation and technology,” by BMW board member Harald Kruger. “It will enable us to take BMW i to the next level,” said Kruger. Though that doesn’t tell us much in the way of specifics, Kruger went on to mention that it will include autonomous driving functions, connectivity features, lightweight build materials, and the next generation of “electro-mobility.”

“With BMW i, we have managed to very quickly create a globally known brand that embodies sustainability, Kruger remarked. “Since its introduction in 2013, we have delivered more than 50,000 BMW i vehicles to customers. Today, the BMW i lineup has a larger market presence than any other electric vehicle. BMW i assumes a key role as an enabler for our BMW core brand: BMW i attracts new customers to BMW.”

As for the rest of BMW’s lineup, the electric powertrains which are being used in i Series models will soon be incorporated in hybridized versions of standard BMW models. Starting this July, seven BMW models will be available as full EVs or plug-in hybrids.

Stay tuned for our New York Auto Show coverage where we’ll interview BMW executives about the future of its i Series.