Next-Gen BMW i8 Might Get 4-Cylinder To Replace 3: Power Bump Expected


While everyone was hoping for an all-electric powertrain, it seems the bosses in Munich wanna stick with a hybrid setup

The BMW i8 is one of those cars that screams future is now from every facet of its being. And anyway you may look at it, the car is a futuristic design masterpiece. Simply put, the i8 excites everyone from the young motoring fans to the die hard petrolheads. However, we all have that what could have been thought running through our minds when we see it. After all, the vehicle should have been an all-electric battery-powered beast from the get-go … and all would be well in the car world. But, since the shot callers at that fancy building in Munich had other ideas, the hybrid sports car that looks better than it goes, is what we all got.

Even in the last few years – and mind you, the BMW i8 was revealed back in 2013 at the Frankfurt Auto Show – BMW didn’t really devote much attention to it. Certainly, it received an open-top Roadster variant, some slight bumps in battery capacity and electric motor power levels, but beyond that, not much else have changed. However, that might change in the near future.

According to the BMW Blog, the next generation of the BMW i8 is set to receive an upgraded powertrain. While there is no all-electric version in the works – again –  the vehicle will definitely get a bit more power and torque. The information in question was revealed in a print edition of AutoExpress, stating that the revamped i8 would deliver 450 horsepower when revealed. In order to accomplish the task at hand, BMW would have to swap the current 228 horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with a more powerful 300 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine. Clearly, in today’s world, nothing to brag about but we’ll take it.

On the other hand, if BMW is to conquer the high-performance hybrid world, the 450 horsepower powertrain solution simply won’t cut it. While the looks of the BMW i8 are overwhelming, the performance aspect is on the opposite side of the scale. But, with so much interested from the general public directed in the i8’s direction, we’d be very surprised if the Bavarian carmaker doesn’t reveal the second-generation of their hybrid high-performance machine in the near future. Whether it arrives with a significant power bump or an all-electric powertrain, still remains to be seen.

Categories: BMW


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24 Comments on "Next-Gen BMW i8 Might Get 4-Cylinder To Replace 3: Power Bump Expected"

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“While everyone was hoping for an all-electric powertrain, it seems the bosses in Munich wanna stick with a hybrid setup..”

They must not have gotten the memo. That’s why I hate this car. It could be so much more, but they still stick with the lesser ICE platform (with a dash of electric). I don’t get it, but it represents a single car snapshot of the large manufacturers complete inability to see where the puck is going. They’re out at the tracks getting their butts kicked by electrics, which are in the first inning of the game still, yet they double down on stupid.

I don’t think it’s as simple as BMW wanting to stick with a hybrid setup. Going full electric would require a complete redesign. That’s a lot of time and money that they could spent on creating a brand new BEV instead.

Again, this car is so misunderstood. It’s a little 3 cylinder 1.5 liter engine car that has recorded 0-60 mph times in the high 3 second-4 second range. My friend drives 15 miles to work where he charges and drives back home fully electric. Yet he can still cruise 85mph from Ventura to Vegas, with full AC on, etc. Something the Tesla’s simply cannot do. Additionally, even with the little 3 cylinder engine, there was a video showing from 100-150mph, the i8 was nearly as quick was the P100D. So on the autobahn, the i8 would be the more capable vehicle. Or several laps around the Nürburgring, etc. And more importantly for the typical i8 owner is exclusivity. Again, around Rodeo Drive, the Tesla stands out about as much as a Toyota Camry. The gull wing CRFP i8 still commands a second glance of appreciation. And that’s the simple truth. So a hybrid sports car without a 3 cylinder engine instead of a big V8, and a $160,000 price tag instead of $1 million. Its really not that hard to understand once you know the facts. In this context, the i8 is a bargain. And the facts are the i8… Read more »

HS reunion? Who does that anymore?

People that want to see their childhood peers that grew up with them in the same neighborhood?
We had an event where we took the P100D and the i8. Everyone was interested in the i8, and no one took a second glance at the P100D. Just saying…..

Hahahaha! Ok, fair enough. If you buy a car based on the crowd it draws, then the i8 wins. FYI- if the i8 was sold in the numbers as the Model S, and the Model S was seen once-every-never, then the opposite would hold true. Give those same folks $150k to buy one car and then give them rides in both and see what happens to your crowd..

I’d agree to disagree. I see the i8 as completely opposite. And other than cruising at 85 mph, the P100D can do everything plus more that the i8 can.

Exactly, it takes $1000 to shove a 2.0 in the chassis, it takes $500m to redesign it as a BEV. It is simple math.

I really wish the EV enthusiast sites would stop reporting on this car altogether; doing so gives it undeserved EV cred. Even as a PHEV it’s a joke, with pure EV range in the teens.

I often compare PHEVs to DVD/VCR combos: a transitional device that will only be on the market briefly. But it’s not an accurate comparison because at least with those you can still watch DVDs on them for years to come. I actually saw one recently, in a beach house my family rented! But this rolling lozenge will be utterly useless when gasoline production tanks (yes, pun intended), unless the aftermarket can figure out how to replace the ICE parts with more batteries and make it a pure EV.

Yeah, I realize gasoline production will never completely go away; there are still vinyl record players and film cameras floating around out there in aficionados’ hands. But my point is, even the Volt with just over 50 miles range wouldn’t be viable in a world where the pumps run dry.

Very true, and as market share transfers more and more (this month is very telling as you will see in the recap, which is publishing soon) to BEVs, we’ll move to covering those more. We have already shifted quite a bit. But, we cover anything with a plug at this point. There is a huge number of people that really dig this car and other PHEVs that basically offer almost no electric miles. When we published a controversial piece about what PHEVs people shouldn’t buy, we received a world of flack about steering people away from EVs of any variety. In a perfect world, in the coming years, InsideEVs will move to covering only BEVs. We are looking forward to that day, but it’s still quite far away. Our sister site,, was only offering BEVs for sale initially and received a ton of negative feedback. Now that they’ve added PHEVs, they are already seeing more success. It’s a stepping stone (and believe me, you don’t need to convince me that cars like the i8 are a very bad example), but, nonetheless, if it pulls people toward electric vehicles and toward our site to learn more about other EVs, it’s… Read more »

It’s all good, Mr. Loveday. I didn’t mean to single you or Insideevs out. I’m more annoyed by the fact that BMW even designed this rolling insult in the first place. Just like how they keep bragging about their “record electrified vehicle sales”

Very much agreed, Chris.

Steven, you’re tired of seeing me comment my dislike for the i8. I apologize for my incessant carping. But thank you for sharing your opinion, I value the quietest folks the most because when they speak everyone listens.

Thanks, John. I’m not a big fan either and I’m not tired of your comments. Have a good weekend!

I doubt people buying a vintage car will be too worried about the higher price and difficult availability of fuel for it.

Why vintage? Because petrol/gasoline is not going to “tank” for at least the next 2-3 decades.

Remember, even when we get to the point that BEV becomes over 50% of the new sales market (predicted to be 20-30 years), the majority of vehicles on the road will still be some form of ICE.

I think that reaching 50% new BEV sales in 20-30 years is a gross underestimation. It might only take 10 years. Look at what’s happening in China. The Chinese brands will try to enter Western markets within the next few years and if they are successful, they will do what first Japanese and then Korean makes did. Cheap Chinese BEVs could gain a huge share of the automotive market in a very short time.

There is also a growing world-wide trend of limiting ICE use in densely populated areas. This will have an impact on BEV adoption as well.

I agree that there will be some form of ICE for a long, long time but only in the collectors and enthusiast circles.

No chance – 10 years? Where are all the batteries going to come from? I think a 50% sales volume for BEV AND PHEV is pushing it, unless everyone in North America and Europe starts moving towards small hatchbacks and away from SUV’s and Saloons/sedans.

Either way, even with a 50% BEV new vehicle marketshare in 10 years, that still means in 20 years there’s going to be 100’s of millions of ICE vehicles on the road, with probably 100 million of those in the US alone (the average North American vehicle is 10 years old).

We need to be realistic, even in our optimism here.

There is news of more battery factories being built in various parts of the world. In a few years, the battery supply will be adequate to support mass BEV production. At the same time, as the battery technology improves, the cost of production will go down and the energy density will go up.

You are making an assumption that the car demand will grow or remain the same. This is not necessarily true, there are signs are that fewer people will buy fewer cars in the future. Transportation sharing might become a thing. In such an environment, BEVs make a lot more sense and the BEV share of the market will increase.

Don’t underestimate the legislative initiatives to decrease pollution – it’s happening everywhere, especially in China. I believe that might be one of the more important factors, ICE could be banned from a lot of places.

The future is electric and it’s coming sooner than many of us expect.

My primary concern is climate change, and therefore how the world can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. This is why I could not give a rat’s asterisk over cars like this one. How many will they sell, and how diligent will the owners be about plugging in this very expensive car? And how many miles driven will that minuscule shift from gasoline to electrons, and at what emissions savings?

I would guess the average Volt, likely used as a daily driver by someone who wants to save money by plugging in, winds up making a greater contribution to reducing our emissions than at least 20 average i8s, maybe even more.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Put a bigger ICE to keep sucking and swallowing OPEC Jizz!

Don’t fret, I’m can guarantee you the bigger engine will come with a bigger battery and more range. That’s pretty much a given. If they get the i8 up to 30 miles AER, that can still be very impactful.

The i3 and I8 missed their mark because BMW didn’t design them as BEVS. I think BMW’s mistake in designing a hybrid drivetrain, was that they didn’t expect Tesla to do as well as they did or survive at all. I think most of the ‘traditional’ auto industry was expecting/wanting Tesla to fail early on. But instead, Tesla has exceeded expectations, and left the old school automakers scrambling.

BMW only ready to launch their first BEVs in late 2019, and hopefully after this ‘update’ to i8, we should see a New I8 BWV by 2020/21. It’s actually necessary because BMW has to get the volume up with battery use so the price can come down. Then again the i3 will need to be redesigned as a proper city car with some attractiveness…right now it’s painful to look at from many angles.

I give BMW credit for bringing a high performance plug-in to market in 2013/14 for sheer early move into the high performance plug-in market. That took courage when everyone was still talking about EV’s being glorified golf carts that can only drive for as long as the extension cord reaches.

But I fully expected the next generation i8 would build on the EV side of the PHEV drivetrain not the ICE side.

Who are they marketing this thing towards? The non-existent hords of 4-cyl supercar fans who don’t mind that it also has a battery to plug in? Or to plug-in fans who want a super car that they can still plug in? I just don’t know who they are trying to appeal to by increasing the ICE side instead of putting a bigger electric motor and bigger battery pack in.

Is this purely short-sighted German obsession with the N-ring and the Autobahn, forsaking everything else?

Heck, even the Karma (that BMW is a part owner of the business) gets 30+ miles EV range.

Again the true face of legacy gasmobile makers is revealed. There is 0 excuses for the i8 to not be a 2 sec 0-60 Bev beast. But they are as stuck in using black goop from the ground as Kodak was building “digital” cameras to complement their film lineup.
Attitude + an antiquated dealer-centric business model makes them all stuck in an evolutionary dead end awaiting extinction as the environment changes around them.