Hybrid-powered super-sports flagship will be based on the i8 but with twice as much power

BMW is actively considering introducing a flagship super-sports car to its line-up. The McLaren 570S-baiting package would bring together the brand’s advancements in electrification, light-weighting and new materials. 

The i8 is currently BMW’s principal electrified sports car, with the new 8 Series becoming the more traditional flagship GT. Autocar understands a direct replacement for the i8 is unlikely, although BMW has yet to confirm this publicly. 

A new super-sports car would take inspiration from the i8 and could serve as an indirect replacement. However, it would have a higher price point and more power and sit at the top of the M performance division's line-up.

 

Klaus Fröhlich, the BMW board member responsible for product development, hinted that the super-sports car is in the works. “If you are an engineer, once in your life, you want to make a super-sports car,” Fröhlich told Autocar. “I think partial electrification will enable that. 

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“If we have these very compact and very powerful electric driving units, if we have a carbonfibre chassis – for example, the i8’s – and if we still have high-performance engines, then, if you do it cleverly, you can combine them into a real performance package.” 

He continued: “If you look at the supercars – the McLarens, the Ferraris – beyond 2020, they will be all partially electric. And if you look at power plug-in hybrids we are planning for today, an electric motor in our PHEVs has a little bit more than 99bhp and 184lb ft of torque.” 

The model, which could arrive by 2023, would use a hybrid powertrain consisting of a petrol engine and electric motors and a chassis heavily based on the existing lightweight carbonfibre architecture found in the i8. But a much larger combustion engine than the i8’s three-cylinder unit is expected, likely moving up to six cylinders. Power should push 700bhp, nearly double the i8’s 369bhp and exceeding next year’s M8, which is tipped to deliver around 620bhp. 

Fröhlich added that BMW’s PHEV e-motors will have more than 197bhp and up to 378lb ft within a few years. 

“So if you see this e-motor in a car which can give you in milliseconds the push formerly found in a V8 engine, then you can have a very sporty feel from this power PHEV – and it fits perfectly to the M brand,” he said. 

A BMW super-sports car could easily exceed the i8’s £114,000 price and would be likely to target hybrid competitors, including the Honda NSX, and conventionally powered alternatives such as the McLaren 570s at £150,000 and beyond. 

Production numbers would be strictly limited to sustain the car’s exclusivity and retain residual values, which are a weak point of the i8.

Future BMWs to ooze flex appeal

BMW’s M brand will go electric in the future, but hybrids will rule the roost, according to product development boss Klaus Fröhlich. 

“M will also be electric in the future, but we will work very heavily on partial electrification on M cars. This is because they do not only need acceleration on the straight. They have to drive around corners and race tracks, so weight is an issue and electric vehicles still have a weight penalty for range,” he said. 

Each of BMW’s two platforms are able to accommodate combustion engines, plug-in hybrids and electric powertrains, which means that every BMW from 2021 has the capability to be electric. 

Fröhlich said: “The M cars are derived from that architecture, the electric i cars will be derived from that architecture and I think flexibility to react to different demands all over the world is key. 

“For example, we can’t afford to have a 7 Series on an electric platform and a conventional platform, so the 7 Series for China will be a lot of EVs and, in America, perhaps we will have power PHEVs or perhaps there will be M Performance derivatives.”

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Comments
19

2 January 2019

So the i8 will, instead of being directly replaced, be succeeded by a more powerful and expensive version, much like audi did with the R8, started off in porsche 911 territory and then became a full fat supercar with the price to match. I always think its a shame that the cheaper lower powered version isn't kept on sale to have a range of performance and price like porsche do with the 911. By this I mean replace the i8's performance and price point as well as havng the more powerful expensive model.

 

3 January 2019
The R8 is no where near the 150k price point that BMW is aiming for and it never pretented to compete in the hyper car bracket. I was thinking it looks more and more a bargain against some of the so called said hyper cars out there. BMW's i8 is as expensive as it is anachronistic. It's neither ground breaking or pretty and it's definitely not fast. They will need to be on the money against the Mclaren's etc. They are already copying its basic shape though so that's not a good sign about the brands confidence

2 January 2019

Rest assured whatever Sports car BMW comes up with will not be pretty, Mclaren will have nothing to fear.

2 January 2019
mpls wrote:

Rest assured whatever Sports car BMW comes up with will not be pretty, Mclaren will have nothing to fear.

Yes, because McLaren produce such beauties like the Senna, the 720S etc.

V12

2 January 2019
mpls wrote:

Rest assured whatever Sports car BMW comes up with will not be pretty, Mclaren will have nothing to fear.

You think Mclaren has a sports car pedigree better than BMW? C’mon Kid educate yourself!

2 January 2019

Yes, but wouldn't it be great if McLaren announced they plan to take on BMW - and produce mainstream cars?  I'm really hoping that we'll see a British company start making cars and small vans that 'ordinary people' buy...and make them in Britain.  It needs someone like the Ineos bloke (stinking rich, in other words) who has vision.  I'm optimistic enough that I wouldn't rule it out.  Free-trade deals with countries around the world would help a lot!

I say my bit, then go. So although I'm interested in what you may initially say, I don't care what you think about what I've written, so I won't read whatever your reply is.

2 January 2019
That bloke wrote:

Yes, but wouldn't it be great if McLaren announced they plan to take on BMW - and produce mainstream cars?  I'm really hoping that we'll see a British company start making cars and small vans that 'ordinary people' buy...and make them in Britain.  It needs someone like the Ineos bloke (stinking rich, in other words) who has vision.  I'm optimistic enough that I wouldn't rule it out.  Free-trade deals with countries around the world would help a lot!

Jag tried to take on BMW with the joke XE, and sold 10. 

Re trade deals with the world, you have none. You had one with the biggest block of them all, but decided you were too good for it. British arrogance, aquaint yourself with cold hard reality.

2 January 2019
John Fox wrote:

That bloke wrote:

Yes, but wouldn't it be great if McLaren announced they plan to take on BMW - and produce mainstream cars?  I'm really hoping that we'll see a British company start making cars and small vans that 'ordinary people' buy...and make them in Britain.  It needs someone like the Ineos bloke (stinking rich, in other words) who has vision.  I'm optimistic enough that I wouldn't rule it out.  Free-trade deals with countries around the world would help a lot!

Jag tried to take on BMW with the joke XE, and sold 10. 

Re trade deals with the world, you have none. You had one with the biggest block of them all, but decided you were too good for it. British arrogance, aquaint yourself with cold hard reality.

Come back in 10 years John.  The reason we have no trade deals now is because we legally can't. Europe is a dead dog in terminal decline.  Whilst the rulers should be stimulating growth and competitiveness they are piling on more rules, more taxes.  It's governed by an institution, not a government - a dictatorship in other words.

China is replacing every key industry in Germany, at lower cost and (increasingly) the same quality.  The car industry has peaked - short term rentals, uber, polution rules, restrictive motoring laws and electrification will decimate demand.  Last year the share price of Daimler halved.  Deutsche Bank is finished.  Italy is already 20 years into decline.  France is fighting every piece of reform so will follow Italy.

Good luck - we'll both need it but it's the UK that will still be growing in 10 years, let's see where the EU is (if there's still an EU left, that is).

2 January 2019
John Fox wrote:

That bloke wrote:

Yes, but wouldn't it be great if McLaren announced they plan to take on BMW - and produce mainstream cars?  I'm really hoping that we'll see a British company start making cars and small vans that 'ordinary people' buy...and make them in Britain.  It needs someone like the Ineos bloke (stinking rich, in other words) who has vision.  I'm optimistic enough that I wouldn't rule it out.  Free-trade deals with countries around the world would help a lot!

Jag tried to take on BMW with the joke XE, and sold 10. 

Do agree the XE was a disappointment...

2 January 2019
John Fox wrote:

 

Re trade deals with the world, you have none. You had one with the biggest block of them all, but decided you were too good for it. British arrogance, aquaint yourself with cold hard reality.

Actually we decided the EU wasnt good enough for us, there is a difference, its not arrogance, its cold hard fact, the EU is a busted flush, it was the arrogance of the EU that made us decide to leave. Lets see how the German manufacturers cope when they lose their second biggest European market.. 

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