BMW wants a hybrid supercar, and a redesigned i8 might be the ticket
2019 BMW i8
BMW is keen to bring a new supercar into the fold to serve as the brand’s halo model. It’s something we’ve been hearing for a while but know the automaker’s R&D chief, Klaus Fröhlich, has revealed he’s working very hard to make a supercar happen.
Drive reported on Frölich’s comments on Wednesday. The executive said such a car could appear for 2021 but didn’t confirm whether the project was a done deal. He called such a car his “personal wish” and added that there was an opportunity to build such a car “whenever we have the lifecycle for the i8.”
It’s unclear if Fröhlich envisions the supercar as a successor to the i8 or a separate car altogether, though he did say he’d like any supercar project to feature the i8’s aluminum and carbon fiber platform as a starting point. “The chassis is so robust, so good and so lightweight that I would like to use it for a second generation,” he said.
Further, he envisioned a BMW supercar to still house an internal combustion engine and electric motors in line with the current i8. However, the i8 is hardly a supercar with a combined 369 horsepower from a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine and electric motors. For the budding supercar project, Fröhlich thinks 600 hp is a doable benchmark and the car wouldn’t way a pound over two tons. As for the engine part of things, a 4- or 6-cylinder engine could report for supercar duty combined with batteries and an electric motor.
Of course, the supercar would have all-wheel drive with a proposed hybrid setup, which seems to be the trend going forward.
Now, the future for such a car rests in a proper business case. Fröhlich admitted the market is small for such a car but that the “halo” effects could help lift the brand overall. The idea of a new supercar isn’t a new idea, either. Reports from 2014 pegged BMW to celebrate its 100th birthday with a so-called i9 supercar. Obviously, 2016 has come and gone, but perhaps plans for such a car have stuck around.
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