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BMW ends production of i8 sportscar

Plug-in hybrid BMW i8 hi-po coupe and convertible range to be retired in April

12 Mar 2020

BMW has announced that its trailblazing i8 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) coupe and convertible sportscar will cease production in April, six years after it first arrived on Australian soil.


According to the German brand, the i8 will retire with the title of world’s most successful sportscar with electrified drive, with over 20,000 units sold worldwide.


To the end of February this year, BMW Australia has sold 155 examples of the i8, including seven in the first two months of 2020.


When it arrived in 2014, it was one of the most expensive offerings in BMW’s stable with an asking price of $299,000 plus on-roads, while the drop-top roadster that arrived in Australia asked $318,990.


Currently, the two grades cost $318,900 and $348,900 respectively, meaning only the M8 Competition coupe and M760Li limousine ask buyers for a bigger outlay.


For a high-performance coupe, the i8 had a very unusual powertrain layout, especially at the time it was released – namely a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels, paired with an electric motor driving the front wheels.


The petrol engine developed 170kW while the motor added 96kW, with a combined output of 266kW, while torque outputs totalled 320Nm for the petrol engine and 250Nm from the electric motor.


When the Roadster arrived, combined outputs saw a slight bump to 275kW/570Nm.


As for what the future holds with the i8, BMW has not made any concrete plans, however when speaking to GoAuto at the 2018 Paris motor show, BMW R&D boss Klaus Froehlich said he would like to see the i8 produced in a new generation.


Mr Froehlich said a hybridised powertrain would be the norm for supercars of the future.


“I see big potential if you look at a car with four-to-six cylinders and an e-motor for example,” he said.


“They normally are an all-wheel drive. Normally combustion at the rear axle and big e-motor with 200 or 300 horsepower (150kW or 225kW) on the front axle, I think they can deliver stunning performance. And so wait and see.”


“I would like to use something like (the i8 chassis) with much more performance – electric and conventional. And then it will be very soon in the 600hp (447kW) region and it will not have a weight of two tonnes.”


The fate of the i8’s future is expected to be detailed in the future.

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