BMW i8 Spyder approved for production … wait. No, no it’s not

Last week, we heard reports that the Bimmer brass had given the thumbs-up to the BMW i8 Spyder, after having sold out the entire first run of the hardtop variant before production ceased.

According to Bimmerpost, BMW set the i8 Spyder for a 2015 debut powered by the exact same powertrain as its hardtop brother, the regular i8. This means a three-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a plug-in hybrid powertrain good for 362 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to push the i8’s carbon-reinforced plastic body to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 155.

This stands in stark contrast to the recent reports that BMW is planning an M8 supercar based on the bones of the eco-friendly i8 sports car.

Word has now come that BMW is not in fact ready to push the i8 Spyder onto the assembly floor. “The last architecture presented some fairly major challenges, to be able to produce a convertible in that format. The rigidity was hard to find with that particular architecture,” a BMW representative told Autocar.

There is “no set timeframe” for the i8 Spyder, the rep added.

So there we have it. Although BMW created an open-air concept variant of the i8 for the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, it apparently can’t get the body rigid enough for the open road. That’s a shame, though. Although the i8 isn’t crazy fast, when you drop the top, it almost wouldn’t matter.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time BMW has struggled with the i8. Originally, it aimed for the i8 to be V8 powered … then V6 powered … then it settled on the three-cylinder due to cooling issues. Now it apparently can’t keep it from being too floppy when it chops the top. It’s a shame. This platformed seemed promising. Now, I’m not so sure.

I guess we’ll just have to sit on our hands and wait for the M8 instead. And I’m OK with that.


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