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

Can a pair of earbuds be worth $2,000? These are so good we'd pay more

Shure’s astronomically priced KSE1500 electrostatic earbuds get a reboot of sorts in the KSE1200, which drop the digital-to-analog converter, but keep all the lovely sound for less cash.
Product Review

Flexible and fast, HP's Spectre x360 is the 2-in-1 for every occasion

HP’s late-2017 refresh of the Spectre x360 13 convertible 2-in-1 leverages Intel’s eighth-generation CPUs for significantly improved performance and battery life. The thin and light frame is also tweaked, and looks better than ever.
Cars

IIHS tests advanced driver-assist tech, gets mixed results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested adaptive cruise control and active lane-keep systems from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volvo. Testers found them to be unreliable in the real world.
Cars

It’s not just an electric car. The Taycan is an electric Porsche

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan and scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.
Cars

Take a closer look at the Faraday Future FF 91 with this virtual tour

The Faraday Future FF 91 electric crossover boasts some impressive statistics, but Faraday still hasn't delivered any to customers. In the meantime, take a virtual walk around this Tesla-fighting electric car.
Cars

These are the best 2019 wagons on sale today in the U.S.

While minivans seemed to have fallen out of favor for the SUV and the crossover SUV with just a few available today, wagons remain relatively popular, particularly with a strong cult following. These are the best wagons on sale today that…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

You’ll need $68,000 to land a tech-rich 2019 Audi A7 in your driveway

Have you been eyeing the latest rendition of Audi’s tech-savvy A7 Sportback? Well the deal just got a little sweeter as Ingolstadt’s finest just announced the pricing list for the new 2019 Audi A7.
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s working on a new 8C plug-in hybrid supercar

Despite the untimely and sad death of former FCA CEO, Sergio Marchionne, the show must go on and Alfa Romeo's reportedly working on a new mid-engined, gas-electric plug-in hybrid supercar called the 8C.
Cars

Head Tesla engineer leaves for Apple to possibly reboot self-driving car

Apple's self-driving car project could get the reboot as a former chief engineer for Tesla Motors left the company to go back to Apple. Doug Field, who worked at Tesla from 2013 until last month, will go back to Apple.
Cars

NYC just dealt a major blow to Uber and Lyft

New York City regulators placed a cap on operational licenses it grants for Uber and Lyft drivers. The city says it's an attempt to try and save the city’s integral Yellow Cab system after several cab drivers committed suicide.
Cars

Take a Don Draper-worthy road trip in this vintage $225,000 RV

Everything from the unique shape down to the luxury finishes makes this fully restored travel trailer worth the price. It's even been signed by Chuck Pelly.
Cars

How autonomous ridesharing will reshape our cars, cities, and lives

Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon, and it’s closely linked with developments in autonomous and connectivity technology. In the coming decades, shared mobility will even change the way cities around the world develop.
Cars

NHTSA investigating Ford F-150 seat belt fires, may recall 1.4 million trucks

The NHTSA is investigating reports of fires in five Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation is exploring whether seatbelt pretensioners caused the fires during crashes and if a recall is necessary.