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This Bonkers BMW Supercar Almost Replaced the i8

BMW’s lead designer, Domagoj Dukec, shared sketches and renderings over the weekend of a sports car that never made it past the design stage called the i16. Had it done so, it sounds as if that car would have been a follow-up to the discontinued i8 hybrid.

The i8, for those who don’t remember, was BMW’s first attempt at a production electric sports car. It featured a bold design unlike anything in the brand’s lineup at the time, as well as a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combined a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-three with a 11.6-kWh battery pack and two electric motors. BMW would build over 20,000 i8 units between 2014 and 2020, making it the world’s best-selling electric sports car during the period.

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Despite this, the car has yet to be replaced in the BMW lineup since it went out of production. It would seem, that this wasn’t how things were necessarily supposed to go. Dukec makes clear that the car, which he writes he was “involved with personally,” was supposed to be the i8’s successor.  The i16 was supposed to be an evolution of the Vision M Next concept the marque has unveiled in 2019. Additionally, it would also feature visual elements inspired by the company’s M road car, the M1.

“The I16 had all the style of a future classic, but there were still novel touches that moved the design forward from the M1,” the designer wrote in an Instagram post. “Within less than 12 months the car was ready—inside and out. The key was to use the composite structure of the BMW i8. If you look closely, you will find a few cues!”

Rendering of the unrealized BMW i16 project
Rendering of the unrealized BMW i16 project

Despite the quick turnaround, the project would never come to fruition. Dukec doesn’t go into too much detail about what brought the project to an end, other than to say that it was scrapped when the “world changed in 2020.”

Dukec doesn’t make mention of the i16’s powertrain, but it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if it was based on that of the Vision M Next. The concept powertrain consisted of a mid-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder mill with a plug-in hybrid system that combined to generate 591 horses, which was 200 hp more than was produced by the i8’s setup. At the time, BMW said it projected the car would be able to go from zero to 60 mph in just three seconds and reach a top speed of 186 mph.

While the i16 will never make it to production, that doesn’t mean BMW has closed the book on an electrified sports car. But, considering the brand’s embrace of EVs, we imagine that the car, if and when it does arrive, will be all-electric.

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