BMW is drawing a line under the i8, just under six years after it launched in a fanfare of celebration and controversy. Production is set to cease in April with no sign of a replacement.
Lauded as BMW’s first electrified sports car, its looks were – and still are – as divisive as its approach. Its curious but highly effective mix of three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a modest electric motor made it an unorthodox alternative to a Porsche 911. Potential buyers either loved this fresh take or felt that it lacked old-school authenticity or, at over £115,000 these days, was priced too high.
Either way, the i8 has become a distraction from BMW’s all-electric next step, focusing on SUVs and the i4 saloon. Sports cars are still in the frame too, with something in development that is being derived from the Vision M Next concept.
That car did look quite a lot like an i8 playing dress-up, so we’ll see whether that car emerges as the i8’s successor. BMW says it won’t be, but that might just be marketing semantics. The sports car will use technology derived directly from the firm’s research and development in Formula E, but whether it’s a BEV or a hybrid isn’t yet known publicly.
Reports claim that UK buyers wanting to secure a custom i8 build before it’s no longer available should order one by the end of February. Dealers are already trying to shift any stock they have, courtesy of massive discounts, and big deals are available on factory orders too.