The star of the #NextGen event was the futuristic BMW Vision M Next, a concept car that resembles the shape and proportions of the current i8. Over the last year, we’ve learned that an i8 replacement is in works, but what we didn’t know was that it will combine the best of the M and i worlds.
So today, we can report that the Vision M Next will indeed head for production in early 2023 and it will replace the current i8 in the lineup. A similar statement was made last week by BMW R&D chief Klaus Froelich who confirmed for Car Sales that the i3 and i8 won’t spawn direct replacements.
He indicated that the role of the i3 will be filled by the upcoming i4 sedan, while the i8 will be succeeded by a BMW M offering based on the Vision M Next.
“M is fast and furious and fun and that always works, but there is no direct successor for the i3 and no direct successor for the i8,” he said.
While most of us were hoping for a fully-electric i8 replacement, what we’ll be getting instead is a plug-in hybrid with a 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbo engine and twin electric motors. The combination was claimed by BMW to deliver 600 horsepower, or enough for 0-62 mph acceleration in 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.
Froelich says that a fully electric M Next would have made the car too heavy – 4,850 pounds – so going with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, BMW will be able to keep weight down to a more reasonable level. The automaker targeted a weight of 3,750 pounds for the Vision M Next concept but actually came in a lot lower, according to Froelich.