What's next for BMW's hybrid sports car?
The BMW i8 was revolutionary when it first arrived on the market in 2014. BMW was among the first automakers to package plug-in hybrid technology in a sports car, setting an industry trend that continues today. But despite its advanced technology and sexy body, the i8 is beginning to show signs of age and a successor has already been previewed by the Vision M Next Concept. BMW's M division is also rumored to be working a standalone model, which could shroud the i8's future in doubt.
Nothing has been confirmed from BMW as of yet, meaning the i8 is still the company's halo hybrid performance model. In fact, the 20,000th i8 just rolled the assembly line in Leipzig, Germany, which is a major achievement.
Building 20,000 cars in a five-year span may not sound like a major accomplishment but the i8 is no ordinary car. It requires a complicated build process with advanced materials such as aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber reinforced plastic.
"The BMW i8 is a very special automobile that stands for driving pleasure in Leipzig in a unique way. We at the factory are all very proud to produce this flagship of the BMW brand. Presenting this combination of highly innovative materials and forward-looking drive concepts in a stable and efficient production process is still unique in the automotive industry worldwide. Only the employees of the BMW Group Leipzig plant have this competence and experience," said Hans-Peter Kemser, Head of the BMW Leipzig Plant.
The 20,000th i8 is an Ultimate Sophisto Edition, which will only have a 400-unit run for the entire world (200 Coupes and 200 Roadsters). Both the Coupe and Roadster Ultimate Sophisto Edition are finished in Sophisto Grey metallic paint with E-Copper accents. Inside, there is matching E-Copper trim and a special plaque marking the car as one of only 200 cars. Production of the i8 is set to cease next April after six years on the market.