Say it ain't so.
Not long before the BMW i8 was officially discontinued, the German automaker revealed a stunning new concept that previewed a potential successor. That concept was the Vision M Next whose styling paid direct tribute to the iconic M1. BMW never announced a production version was in the work, but just this week we learned that a 2023 launch is being targeted.
However, we are now hearing the opposite. BMW Blog claims it has learned from anonymous sources and German-language publication Manager-Magazin that the Vision M Next project has been canceled and has been for a while now. What's going on here? Is it a casualty of budget cutbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic? That is certainly one probable cause but it's not the only one.
Supposedly, BMW took a closer look at the i8 project as a whole and came to the conclusion it wasn't very successful. The i8 didn't achieve the status BMW initially hoped for and the sales figures further proved that. The i8 is not a supercar but rather a high-tech sports car with decent performance. It looked cooler than it performed.
So when it came time to plan its successor, the first thing on the list was to make it a true supercar, hence the 600 horsepower planned output. But again, halo cars are a tricky thing and are typically only done when the automaker has plenty of extra cash to spare. Economic conditions also have to be right, which leads to today's troubling global situation. BMW has been slow to enter the electric vehicle segment compared to its direct rivals so sufficient funds have been invested there and then some.
Now, enter the coronavirus. Just when BMW was getting back on its feet with its new game plan and CEO, the pandemic struck, forcing factory shutdowns and a drastic sales slowdown. Nobody knows for how long the situation will last but BMW rightly doesn't want to take any risks, especially when it involves a low-volume but expensive project like a hybrid supercar.
Again, the project's cancelation has not been confirmed and we truly hope it's just a rumor. However, canceling it would make financial sense given today's many uncertainties.