2016 BMW i9

Note: Current BMW i8 pictured here.

There’s been a lot of talk about BMW’s plan to expand the i range beyond the current i3 hatchback and i8 sports car. A larger i5 to slot above the i3 , for instance, has been in the rumor mill since last year. More recently though, certain reports are talking about an i9, essentially a plug-in hybrid supercar , placed atop the brand-new i8. The new vehicle will arrive in 2016, German outlet Auto Motor and Sport reports, just in time to celebrate BMW’s 100th anniversary.

Reportedly developed as a spiritual successor to the iconic M1 built between 1978 and 1981, the i9 will be a beefed-up version of the i8 with a more aggressive design and a more potent hybrid drivetrain. Naturally, the i9 will benefit from the same 50:50 weight distribution as the i8, while extensive use of carbon-fiber and aluminum will help keep weight in the 3,300-pound area in spite of its larger gasoline engine and electric motor.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW i9.

Drivetrain

The electric motor, rated at 129 horses and 184 pound-feet in the i8, will also be updated to deliver more oomph to the front wheels.

Details are thin as of 07/23/2014, but Auto Motor and Sport claims the i9 will have more than the 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque motivating the i8. To achieve that, the Germans will likely replace the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder unit with a turbocharged, 3.0-liter, six-banger, which generates as much as 425 ponies in the M4. The electric motor, rated at 129 horses and 184 pound-feet in the i8, will also be updated to deliver more oomph to the front wheels.

The new combo will crank out in excess of 500 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of twist, enabling the supercar to accelerate from naught to 60 mph in less than four seconds. In charge of routing the power at all four corners will be same six-speed automatic transmission fitted in the i8.

Pricing

We expect the i9 to be built in limited quantities and sit atop the BMW lineup in terms of pricing. The BMW i8, currently the most expensive Bimmer, retails from $135,700.

Competitors

Mercedes AMG GT

Mercedes-AMG GT

Mercedes’ successor to the SLS AMG comes to challenge the sports car world with a brand-new, 4.0-liter, V-8 engine. The twin-turbo, which makes use of the company’s "Hot Vee" configuration, churns 510 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, and weighs in at only 461 pounds. Although it does not benefit from an electric motor, the AMG GT makes use of similar amounts of carbon-fiber and aluminum, which enables it to comply with Euro 6 emissions standard.

Likely to sprint to 60 mph from a standing start in only 3.6 seconds, which will go with a top speed of about 200 mph, the AMG GT is mainly aimed at the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8. Expect the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT to fetch more than $100,000 once it hits U.S. shores.

Audi R8

Audi R8

While the BMW i8 gets to compete against the Audi R8 V8, the i9 will engage in a battle against the more powerful and quicker V10 version. The range-topping R8 carries a 5.2-liter, V-10 engine under its hood which sends 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of twist to the wheels. In its Plus guise, the R8 V10 benefits from as much as 550 horses and 398 pound-feet. Performance figures are equally impressive, as the 0-to-60 mph sprint sits at 3.8 seconds in the former and 3.7 seconds in the latter. Top speed is rated at 195 mph and 198 mph, respectively.

As far as pricing goes, the standard R8 V10 retails from $153,900, while the R8 V10 Plus can be had for at least $173,500. With an S tronic to guide 550 horses to the wheels and a couple of fancy options selected, the R8 Plus will fetch more than $190,000.

BMW i8

BMW i8

BMW is aiming similar fuel economy numbers for the i9.

Previewed by the Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept in 2009, the BMW i8 was showcased in production form four years later at the Frankfurt Motor Show . Built on an aluminum chassis using a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell, the i8 tips the scales at only 3,285 pounds and wanders the streets using a hybrid drivetrain.

Power is provided by a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine sending 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet to the rear wheels and an electric motor that sends 129 ponies and 184 pound-feet to spin the front wheels. When both units are active and the total 357 horses kick in, the i8 sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds before reaching a top speed of 155 mph. In electric mode, the sports hybrid has a driving range of up to 22 miles and travels with a top speed of 75 mph. Total range is rated at 310 miles and jumps to 372 miles in "Eco Pro" mode. BMW is aiming similar range numbers for the i9.


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