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A prototype for the BMW i8 roadster has been spied for the first time undergoing testing in Europe, giving us a first look at the drop-top hybrid sports car.

While the vehicle is covered in swirly black-and-white camouflage, the open-top sports car in the images is easily distinguishable as an i8, while the lack of a metal roof is fairly obvious as well.

Last October, Automotive News Europe reported that Harald Krueger, BMW’s CEO, confirmed a convertible version of the i8 will join the coupe in 2018.

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Meanwhile, the UK’s Autocar said in May that the release of the convertible would coincide with a mid-life update for the i8, which will reportedly include a more powerful drivetrain, a revised suspension tune, lighter alloy wheels, and the availability of wireless charging.

Currently, the plug-in hybrid sports car teams a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine with an electric motor, pushing combined outputs of 266kW and 570Nm. It sprints from 0-100km/h taking 4.4 seconds.

It’s believed the update coming next year could push the power figure closer to 310kW.

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We’ve already seen previews of the i8 roadster in the form of the 2012 i8 Spyder and 2016 i Vision Future Interaction (pictured) concepts, and it appears the production version will stay true to the show cars that came before it.

For now we only have spy photos of the rear, so stay tuned to CarAdvice for an update with more shots of the BMW i8 roadster.

Click the photos tab for more images

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