The next i8 is going to be quite something.
Here's what we know: the BMW i8 is aging fast. Launched in 2014, its plug-in hybrid powertrain was once state-of-the-art, but today there are a growing number of all-electric vehicles hitting the road. Among them are Tesla's lineup, the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and the Polestar 2. More will soon follow. We don't know how much longer the i8 coupe and roadster will be around, but we can confirm BMW is very much working on a successor.
Autocar recently chatted with BMW's product management boss, Peter Henrich, about this subject and while he couldn't discuss much, he did provide a helpful hint. "The i8 has done a tremendous job of transforming the industry. It would definitely not be appropriate to just have a little modification or improvement (for its successor). We need to be very creative again."
And when BMW decides to get creative, amazing and sometimes radical things happen. The i8, we must admit, was quite radical when it came out, not only for its powertrain but also its design inside and out. The i3 was also a radical departure from what BMW typically does for the same reasons. But there was some criticism regarding the i8's lack of supercar-level performance and power. BMW claimed the i8 served as a blueprint of sorts for the future of sports cars in a time of strict emission standards.
It's fair to say the i8 has accomplished its mission. So, where to do from here? Honestly, there's only one direction: pure electrification. Given that Tesla will be launching its second-generation Roadster and Rimac's recent tie-up with Porsche, it would only make sense for BMW to enter the high-performance, all-electric supercar segment.
Will the i8's successor be called the i9? Possibly, as we learned long ago that BMW had trademarked i1 through i9. We wouldn't be surprised if BMW were to bring a new concept to Frankfurt this September showcasing what it has in mind for whatever succeeds the i8.