The BMW i Lineup Will Get A New Self-Driving Flagship

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It's going to target the Porsche Mission-E and Tesla Model S.

The BMW i3 and i8 both look like they have been ripped out of a comic book that takes place in the future, but BMW already thinks they're too old and due for a refresh. That's why the company recently announced new versions of the i3 with an extended range, and an i8 with an updated and more powerful powertrain. Other automakers could have wrapped things up and called it a day, but this is BMW so it will do no such thing. Instead, BMW's chairman of the board Harald Kruger announced a new i model called the iNEXT that will serve as a flagship.

In keeping with what the i brand is all about, Kruger said that the iNEXT will not be the hybrid supercar we would have liked but instead be, "our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road." Looking at the shape and styling of the i BMWs, it's hard to see how either could leap too far ahead into the future, but it seems that BMW is playing with some interesting technology. We already know that autonomous cars are supposed to be the way of the future, with every automaker working hard to develop a self-driving car, but the digital connectivity part is interesting.

It points to a possible change in how people see the automobile by introducing screens, wires, and wireless signals into the cabin to keep occupants entertained when the car is driving itself. It could also finally be the perfect user-friendly interface that we've been waiting so long for. Right now, electric vehicles are quite new so automakers are focusing on the specs of each car as selling points. The winners of the EV race are those that offer the most range, best performance, and most charging convenience, but BMW wants to make it about more than just numbers by going back to its "sheer driving pleasure" roots, even on its futuristic cars. Maybe this is what the Vision Next 100 concept was all about. Don't expect to see the iNEXT until 2021.

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