At a press conference today, BMW outlined some of its future plans for the coming years.
Among those plans is the launch of a convertible version of the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, which will likely be labeled the i8 Spyder.
BMW has already unveiled two i8 Spyder concepts, the most recent being the i Future Interaction concept from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, so today’s confirmation doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
The production i8 Spyder will likely more closely resemble the i8 Spyder concept we first saw in 2012. It's expected that many of the i8 Spyder concept's styling details will make it through to the final production version, such as the clearly defined tonneau humps behind the driver and passenger.
We’d expect the i8 Spyder to feature the same plug-in hybrid powertrain found in the i8 coupe, though we could see it enhanced by the time the roofless car rolls in. The current setup sees a turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder power the rear wheels and an electric motor spin the front pair. Together they produce a peak output of 362 horsepower, enough to accelerate the i8 from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, yet when required the car can return upwards of 76 mpge.
Unfortunately, BMW didn’t give an exact date for the release, stating only that the i8 Spyder will be one of several new pure electric and plug-in hybrid models due in the coming years. The automaker also confirmed that the i3 will get an increase in range before the year is out.
BMW’s press conference was also filled with talk digitalization, connectivity and other tech buzzwords. However, we’re glad to report that the automaker hasn’t forgotten core areas such as luxury and performance.
Over the years, BMW has focused on entry-level vehicles like the new 2-Series range, a move that has come at the expense of the upper end of the new car market, which is dominated by arch rival Mercedes-Benz. BMW plans to address this with a new X7 full-size SUV. The automaker says it also looking at additional models in this upper end of the market, one of which may be a new 8-Series.
There will also be more high-performance models from the M division. No details on these were given, with BMW only stating that a further expansion of the M product range is already being planned.