Sales of the i8 are dropping globally, but BMW has a plan to reverse that trend. The Munich-based firm is preparing an updated version of its 22nd-century-esque coupe with a new look, more range, and more power.
The next evolution of the i8 will retain the current model’s gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which is made up of an electric motor and a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Both units will be put on steroids to provide more grunt, bumping the i8’s total output from 362 to about 420 horsepower. The coupe will consequently be able to hit 60 mph from a stop in less than 4.4 seconds, though its top speed will remain pegged at 155 mph.
The mid-cycle update will boost the i8’s green credentials. It will be capable of driving with the turbo three turned off for longer thanks to a new battery pack that will be both bigger and more energy dense. Sources close to BMW suggest the i8 will gain a 10-kilowatt hour pack, but the car maker is keeping its lips sealed for the time being. Currently, the i8 ships with a 7.1-kWh unit. Another innovation in the battery department will be the addition of wireless inductive charging, a technology that aims to make charging cords a thing of the past.
The revised i8 will also benefit from a minor nip-and-tuck that will keep it looking fresh, and it will gain an array of new options including wheels made entirely out of carbon fiber. The interior will be updated, too, likely with the addition of the gesture-controlled infotainment system that was inaugurated last year by the new 7 Series.
Enthusiasts waiting for the updated i8 will need to be patient. British magazine Autocar understands the revised coupe won’t arrive in showrooms until the end of next year, meaning it will likely make its official debut at the 2017 edition of the Frankfurt Auto Show. A long-awaited convertible called i8 Spyder will be presented alongside the coupe. It will benefit from the same visual and mechanical updates as its fixed-roof counterpart.