BMW’s i8 convertible will finally go into production, but not until 2018

BMW i8 Spyder concept
BMW has been teasing a convertible version of its i8 plug-in hybrid since before the current coupe model went into production, starting with the i8 Spyder concept (pictured above) all the way back in 2012. Now, BMW may finally be ready to pull the trigger on a drop-top i8.

During a press conference in Santa Monica, California, last week, BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the i8 convertible would arrive in 2018, reports Reuters. Krueger didn’t give any other details, but the convertible will likely arrive as part of a comprehensive update of the i8. While it still looks like it drove out of the future, the i8 has been in production since 2014 without significant changes, so a refresh within the next couple of years seems likely.

This isn’t the first time an i8 convertible has been mentioned in recent months. BMW unveiled a second i8 convertible concept at CES earlier this year, triggering more speculation that it was considering a production version. Called the i Future Interaction concept, that car was built primarily to show off BMW’s infotainment tech.

Read more: Mini teases first plug-in hybrid model

Mechanically, the i8 convertible shouldn’t be too different from the current i8 coupe. It will likely feature the same powertrain, including a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, electric motor, and lithium-ion battery pack. Some rearranging of the carbon fiber-reinforced plastic body shell will be required, along with structural bracing to account for the loss of a fixed roof.

The i8 convertible could also benefit from upgrades reportedly planned for the current i8 coupe. The revised i8 could get a boost in both power and electric-only driving range, British car magazine Autocar reported earlier this year. Power output could rise from 357 horsepower to 420 hp. The production i8 could also adapt the 10-kilowatt-hour battery pack (replacing a 7.1-kWh pack) and wireless charging system from the current i8 Formula E pace car.

The refreshed i8 is expected to appear sometime next year, meaning BMW will able to incorporate any changes into the convertible in time for its 2018 arrival. In addition to the i8 and i3 electric car, BMW is expected to expand its “i” lineup with a new model called the i5 and a flagship model codenamed “iNext” in the near future.

Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.
Cars

Electric truck maker Rivian scores $500 million investment from Ford

Alongside Amazon, Rivian can now count Ford as one of its backers. The Blue Oval will invest $500 million in Rivian, and will use the company's "skateboard" chassis as the basis for a future electric vehicle.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.
Cars

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.
Cars

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.
Cars

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Cars

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.
Cars

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.
Buying Guides

The best hatchbacks for 2019 are small in size and big on tech

The hatchback segment isn't huge, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from. Here, we've rounded up the best hatchbacks available in America, whether you're a fan of efficiency or looks.
Apple

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

Tesla Model S and Model X charge faster and go farther with the same battery

An all-new drivetrain for the Tesla Model S and X enables the EVs to travel farther per charge than the previous design. Tesla Model S Long Range sedans have a 370-mile range and Model X Long Range SUVs can travel 325 miles per EPA cycle.