The BMW i8 sports car is a popular seller. In fact, the factory is struggling to keep up with demand. Maybe that’s why the delicious drop top version of the car first shown in Beijing in 2012 hasn’t appeared yet. But reports are beginning to circulate that the BMW i8 Spyder has been approved for production- and may arrive here in America sometime in 2016.
We don’t know whether the Spyder will have a cloth roof, like BMW’s 2 Series and 6 Series cars, or a folding metal roof like BMW uses on its 4 series cars. The original concept car in Beijing featured removable roof panels, but there is some concern they would not be suitable for a production car, since there was no way to transport them with the car once they were removed (although, it must be said, that hasn’t stopped BMW, Porsche, or Mercedes from offering hard-panel speedsters in the past).
Perhaps the most intriguing rumor comes from England’s Auto Express, which says BMW is thinking of replacing the 227 horsepower three cylinder gasoline engine in the i8 with a 300 horsepower turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. That would boost total output to about 450 horsepower. The current car scoots to 60 mph in less than 4.4 seconds. While that is less than a Tesla Model S in Ludicrous mode, it is still faster than most cars, and adding another 73 horses would make performance all that much sweeter.
Convertibles- with their motorized tops and reinforced chassis- often end up weighing more than their hard top cousins. Manufacturers have to add extra bracing to make up for the lack of stiffness that comes with chopping the roof off the car, and some of the rumored extra power could offset any related, weight-induced performance penalty that comes from making the car into a convertible. The good news is the upgraded powertrain would probably go into the regular i8 as well. One thing Chairman Kreuger does emphasize is that there will not be an M badged version of the i8.
Source: AutoExpress UK.