According to German news source Auto Motor Und Sport, BMW’s limited edition i9 is under development, and looks to be a beefed-up version of the i8 plug-in hybrid.
The i9 will reportedly appear in 2016 to celebrate BMW’s 100 anniversary, and will share many components with the i8, albeit intensified in output. It will still feature a hybrid-gas layout, but with an engine larger than the 1.5-liter, 231-horsepower three cylinder in the current mill.
The electric motor will be upgraded as well, with an output greater than the i8’s 131 hp. Weight should increase as a consequence, but BMW is no stranger to weight saving materials like carbon fiber and aluminum. A nice tidbit from AMUS’ report is that, despite a gain in mass, the i9 will not stray from the i8’s perfect 50:50 weight distribution. All these upgrades will be good for a 0 to 60 mph time of less than four seconds.
The i9 may be based on the i8, but it will have another automotive association, the rare, mid-engined M1.
The squint-grilled BMW M1 was produced from 1978 to 1981, and it looked more like an exotic Italian than a hard-nosed German. Still, its Ferrari 308 GTS-inspired look was something special, as was the 276-hp inline-six that sat over its rear wheels.
There were racing versions with 470 hp or more, and they were the inspiration behind a one-make racing series called the BMW M1 Procar Championship. Only running from 1979 to 1980, the Procar Championship pit racing drivers against each other in identically-modified M1s, eliminating technical advantage and focusing on skill only. The racing event also served as a support series for Formula One.
An M1 Homage Concept landed in 2008, and the non-production supercar was rumored to house a 600-hp, twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 and cost over $300,000. It canine-faced concept never got off the ground, but its styling wasn’t that far off from the current i8. The BMW M1 may be gone, but it clearly still has an influence on the cars of today.