BMW has announced plans to end production of its renowned i8 model in April this year. The BMW i8, which is currently available as both a roadster and as a coupe had a production run of six years and played a key role in shaping the brand’s current and future electrification strategy.
The i8 initially took shape as a hybrid concept vehicle that made its global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Tehre were little changes in the production model which retained the design of the concept car and came with a three-cylinder engine and a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
BMW started production of the hybrid in 2014, and the i8 proved to be a highly popular model, both in terms of design and technology. Through refining the performance of its gasoline-electric drivetrain, the BMW engineering team developed more volume-oriented hybrid models, and some of the i8’s other features like its laser headlights were soon incorporated in other BMW models. BMW launched the convertible variant of the i8 called the Roadster towards the end of 2017.
The BMW i8 was not meant to be a high-volume production model, but it did become one of the best-selling standalone BMW sports cars. Production figures for the i8 crossed 20000 in December 2019. In view of the fact that BMW had made only 399 units of the street-legal variant of the M1 and only 5700 units of the Z8, the production run of the i8 is quite commendable.
The BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany, factory started production of the final version of the i8, a limited-edition model called the Ultimate Sophisto in 2019 and the production of this model will end in April, if all goes as planned. BMW has not revealed which model, if any can be considered as the successor of the i8.
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