We don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, especially during trying times such as this, but, we regret to inform you that production of the BMW i8 Coupe and Roadster will come to an end in April, sadly.
The concept study for the i8 was presented to the world as far back as the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The study of a 2+2 seater sports car with gullwing doors and an electrified powertrain quickly became reality and was put into production. Just like that, BMW’s new i brand was kick started. Their age of electrification had begun.
Since it’s market debut in 2014, BMW has shifted over 20,000 units of the car, which is more than all its competitors combined. What’s more, the i8 held a global market share of over 50 percent in the segment of electrified sports cars, a position which leads BMW to boast it as “the world's most successful sports car with an electrified drive system.”
In the six years the i8 has been on sale, it has been a sort of figurehead for the ever growing range of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models in BMW's stable. Further, it also led the charge in pioneering the brand’s carbon fibre construction process, dubbed Carbon Core. That construction method is now seen in more conventional BMW’s such as the new 7-Series.
BMW’s Porsche 911 rival was never meant to beat the rest in a horsepower war but rather its plug-in hybrid powertrain was more focused on delivering both performance and efficiency. That was the hard part bit - delivering two ends of the spectrum in one package. That said, the i8 was no slouch.
As a refresher, the i8’s propulsion comes from two engines, the first being a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and the other an electric motor. The TwinPower Turbo internal combustion engine sent power to the rear wheels via a six-speed Steptronic transmission. The electric motor on the other hand, channelled power to the front axle via a two-speed gearbox.
The i8’s total system output is rated at 266kW with 570Nm of torque. Moreover, the electrified sports car is also something of a lightweight with a dry weight of just 1,500kg thanks to its carbon fibre and aluminium construction. The combination of electrified power and lightness enabled the i8 to sprint to 100 km/h from standstill in just 4.4 seconds (the Roadster did it two tenths slower), and on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
At time of press, there’s no indication the i8 will be replaced. BMW says that after the 200-unit run of the limited Ultimate Sophisto Edition, the i8 will be no more. But one thing is for sure, the BMW i8 will be missed. Auf Wiedersehen.