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Report: BMW i8 Spyder Nears Production Debut

Concept shown at 2012 Beijing show.

Andrew TrahanphotographerThe ManufacturerphotographerEric Weinerwriter

Three years after it arrived in concept form, and two years after its coupe sibling debuted, the BMW i8 Spyder has reportedly been green-lit for production. Unforeseen engineering hiccups, largely to do with the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic architecture's rigidity in convertible form, previously delayed the project past its intended 2015 start date.

According to Automotive News, CEO Harald Krueger told German newspaper Handelsblatt that the BMW i8 Spyder is nearing the end of its transition from concept to production. The BMW i8 Concept Spyder we saw at the 2012 Beijing auto show and New York auto show looked fairly close to production at the time, so we don't expect any major deviations in styling. The i8 Spyder will likely keep its scissor doors, despite substituting a removable top instead of the sleek solid roof.

It's possible that the two-seat BMW i8 Spyder may also receive a a battery upgrade. The 2+2 BMW i8 coupe (below), a 2015 AUTOMOBILE All-Star, uses a 7.1-kWh lithium-ion battery to supply power to its dual electric motors, which are supported by a mid-mounted 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Total system output comes in at 357 hp, and the BMW i8 can drive for 22 miles on electric energy alone. With a more advanced, energy-dense battery on board, all-electric range and power output from the electric motors could easily increase.

BMW would not comment on the status of the i8 Spyder, but all indications are that the project is on track for a 2016 debut. Check back for more info on the BMW i8 Spyder over the next few months.

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