Remember the Vision M Next? BMW unveiled this sports car in mid-2019, envisioning it as a potential rebirth of the iconic M1 supercar. The plug-in hybrid performance vehicle could have been an excellent follow-up to the i8. However, it was sadly left on the proverbial cutting room floor. Fast forward to 2024, and BMW is now showcasing the abandoned follow-up to the Vision M Next that was supposed to go into production.

The I16 Project

Design boss Domagoj Dukec recently shared images of what was internally known as the “I16” sports car on his personal Instagram account. We covered this exciting coupe at the beginning of the year in anticipation of the launch of “BMW Behind The Scenes” – a comprehensive three-book collection by automotive author Steve Saxty.

The BMW I16 would’ve been a production version of the Vision M Next. Dukec says the car was developed within 12 months since the concept was officially revealed. He goes on to mention it would’ve used the i8’s composite structure to speed up development rather than having to start from scratch. As some of you will recall, the concept car had a turbocharged four-cylinder engine (instead of the i8’s three-cylinder unit) working with an electric motor. The PHEV setup delivered a combined output of 600 horsepower channeled to an all-wheel-drive system.

When the M Vision Next celebrated its premiere, BMW touted a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in three seconds and a maximum speed of 186 mph (300 km/h). The unspecified battery pack gave it a pure electric range of 62 miles (100 kilometers). The wedge-shaped supercar had staggered wheels (21 inches front, 22 inches rear) and rear louvers akin to the legendary M1.

Why Was It Canceled?

Photos Provided by Steve Saxty, courtesy of BMW

Ok, but why didn’t BMW’s higher-ups from Munich approve the I16? According to Dukec’s Instagram post: “But history was not to be made. While we pushed, the world changed in 2020. And so, work on the project unfortunately had to be stopped.” He was likely referring to the coronavirus pandemic that forced the company to be more careful with budgets and prioritize other projects.

Multiple reports from 2020 stated the car was axed due to prohibitive development costs. Instead of a dedicated supercar, the hugely controversial XM got the green light for production as a plug-in hybrid SUV based on the CLAR platform. The rest is history…

Perhaps we’re reading too much into this but Dukec might have hinted that something interesting is in the planning stages: “We’ll never stop dreaming and exploring new possibilities, and there’s always a new project waiting around the corner.” We can also confirm that we’ve heard similar rumors: BMW is once again looking at a new supercar on the Neue Klasse platform, this time around.

[Source: Domagoj Dukec / Instagram / Other photos Provided by Steve Saxty, courtesy of BMW]