The updated 2018 BMW i8 is set to bring a comprehensive upgrade late next year, with more power, inductive charging and a new look – according to a new report out of Europe.
The current model, which launched locally in March 2015, matches a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, producing a combined output of 266kW of power and 570Nm of torque.
Claiming a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.4 seconds, the current i8 can also run on solely electric power for up to 35km at speeds of up to 120km/h, while sipping fuel at a claimed rate of 2.5L/100km.
Earlier this year, BMW CEO Harald Krueger confirmed at a press conference that the company would release an i8 roadster, along with an upgraded i3 – which was unveiled this week – and a plug-in hybrid Mini.
Joining the updated 2018 2+2 coupe could be the confirmed roadster companion, which has already been previewed by the 2012 i8 Spyder concept and this year’s BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept car that was shown at CES 2016.
A report by the UK’s Autocar claims that the refreshed i8 will employ a slightly upgraded version of the current car’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo, along with a more powerful electric motor to bring the sports coupe’s combined output to around 420 horsepower (313kW).
The increased output should help the i8 to improve on the current model’s 4.4-second 0-100km/h sprint time.
Adding to the performance upgrades will be a larger battery pack, possibly from the i8 Formula E safety cars, which swap the 7.1kWh battery from the production car for a larger 10kWh unit.
The updated battery system, like the new i3, should bring incremental improvements to pure-electric and hybrid driving ranges.
Other chassis tweaks previewed by the safety cars include new front and rear suspension, along with a 15mm lower ride height and lighter 20-inch alloy wheels.
Inductive charging is also a rumoured upgrade to feature on the new i8, with Autocar reporting that a wireless charging system is currently in development and is expected to be offered as an option on the updated sports car.
Drawing from wireless charging technology developed by mobile tech company Qualcomm, the inductive charging system is rumoured to use resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad and a collector fitted to the i8.
The updated sports car is expected to make its debut later this year, which is also likely to coincide with the launch of its two-seater roadster companion. However, don’t expect to see the facelifted version hit local showrooms until late-2017 or early 2018.