BMW will update both the i3 and i8 models within the next 12 months. The high-end super hybrid will reach showrooms next year while the i3 is due later this year. The facelifted i8 will get an upgraded petrol-electric powertrain currently being tested in a fleet of prototypes as well as the latest iteration of the i8-based safety car seen at Formula E events around the globe.
Details are still kept under wraps, but sources say the new i8 is likely to get a more powerful electric motor than the 129 hp unit used by the existing i8. In combination with the 1.5 liter three-cylinder petrol unit, the i8 will get a 10 percent boost in power to around 420 hp.
From 0 to 62 mph, the current i8 runs in 4.4 seconds, but with the updated powertrain the facelited i8 is likely to be faster.
At the same time, BMW is working to extend the overall range of the i8 through the adoption of a revised battery pack. The new i3 will get a 50 percent boost in range, so we expect a reasonable increase for the i8 as well. BMW has confirmed that the Formula E safety car eschews the 7.1kWh unit of the production car for a larger, 10.0kWh battery, possibly hinting at what’s to come for the facelifted version.
Just like the Formula E safety car, the facelifted i8 is also in line to receive a number of chassis modifications. The two i8 safety cars at Formula E events have modified upper wishbones and mounting points, together with revised spring and dampers, a 15mm lower ride height than the production car and 20in alloy wheels shod with 245/35 front and 285/30 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
It also remains to be seen if the facelifted i8 will get the wireless charging technology developed by Qualcomm.
Further possible updates being pursued by BMW for the facelifted i8 are carbon fiber wheels.
The launch of the facelifted i8 coupe is likely to coincide with the introduction of the BMW i8 roadster.