BMW may have recently updated the i8 coupe and added the i8 Roadster to its lineup, but from what we’ve heard, the Bavarians don’t have plans for a second generation of the high-performance hybrid. In fact, both the i3 and i8 are likely on the chopping block. But that doesn’t mean BMW’s getting out of the mid-engine game altogether. In fact, it may be readying a true hybrid supercar.
Autocar reports that instead of directly replacing the i8, BMW will likely aim even higher with just such a model. And while BMW itself has yet to publicly comment on the rumors that it plans to build an Acura NSX competitor, it sounds like at least one executive is already on board. In a recent conversation with Autocar, Klaus Fröhlich, BMW’s head of product development, spoke openly about the potential.
“If you are an engineer, once in your life, you want to make a super-sports car. I think partial electrification will enable that,” Fröhlich said. “If we have these very compact and very powerful electric driving units, if we have a carbon-fiber 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.”
Fröhlich wasn’t shy about name-checking potential competitors, either. “If you look at the supercars—the McLarens, the Ferraris—beyond 2020, they will be all partially electric,” he said. “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 99 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. So if you see this e-motor in a car which can give you in milliseconds the push formerly found in a V-8 engine, then you can have a very sporty feel from this power PHEV, and it fits perfectly to the M brand.”
Of course, more performance will likely cost more. And with the i8 already starting around $150,000, expect any BMW supercar to push deeper into six figures. Then again, if it drives like a McLaren or Ferrari, it will absolutely be worth the money.