BMW CEO Confirms Production i8 Spyder Convertible
After three years in development hell, an open-roof version of BMW’s plug-in hybrid supercar will soon be upon us.
A convertible version of the BMW i8 seemed logical, inevitable. The Germs showed a droptop concept at Beijing in 2012, taking home a Concept Car of the Year award for their troubles. But when the production-ready car rolled out at Frankfurt in 2013, there was a coupe and only a coupe. Same story when dealer delivery started last year. Now, it appears that the open-roof BMW i8 Spyder is finally happening.
During a recent interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, BMW CEO Harald Krueger revealed that a production version of the i8 Spyder will debut “in the near future.” Next year’s Geneva show in March, always a magnet for supercar reveals, seems like a logical venue, though Krueger didn’t go into specifics.
The three-year lag is odd. Our guess? The i8 Spyder—in concept form, at least—used tweaked B-pillars, a different rear cowl and removable top panels to retain the coupe’s radical door hinge mechanism. That’s a fair amount of unique parts, which could’ve complicated assembly, tooling and costs. But we’re mostly wondering about battery tech. The coupe uses a 1.5-liter, turbocharged inline-three in tandem with twin electric motors and a 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. Total output is 357 horsepower, allowing a 4.4-second scoot to 60 mph. The Spyder is likely to be heavier, needing more juice to hit the same (or similar) performance and efficiency targets. Every inch of battery pack matters; if the coupe’s already optimized, where will Spyder go for a squeeze?