All the rumors were effectively put to bed at the recent unveiling of the i8 hybrid supercar after BMW Group’s head of technology communications Cypselus von Frakenberg told CarAdvice at the Frankfurt Auto Show that the i8 and i3 will not have an M version now or in the future.
“It is separate – M and i,” von Frakenberg said. “It’s two different sub-brands, but there will be no ‘M’ i-car in the future. One of the biggest stumbling blocks on building an M version of an i-car is the completely different engines both cars use on respective models. The M models come with combustion engines while the i-cars run on electric drive. It would be a difficult proposition to pull off and one that BMW believes isn’t necessary given how the company appears set on promoting the "i" line as a separate brand that will complement the M division and the core BMW line.
von Frakenberg’s sentiments was echoed by another BMW exec — Carsten Pries, head of product management for the M Division — who said that both sub-brands have different strategic focuses and that combining them into one model could compromise what both are trying to establish individually.
“BMW ‘i’ obviously has a different strategic focus, very much targeting into the area of sustainability,” Pries said, before adding, “It’s two different operations, there’s no fluctuation from BMW M to BMW i or any big transfers going the other way."
So, it looks like our speculation on a possible i3 M will remain just speculation, for now. This could still change in the future, as we have become rather accustomed to automakers changing their minds and the drop of a hat.
Click past the jump to read about the newly-launched BMW i8
Gallery BMW i8
After years of testing, development, and figuring out the car’s overall feasibility, the production BMW i8 officially made its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
Carrying plenty of inspiration from the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept from a few years ago, the i8 is expected to be the halo model for the German automaker’s new "i" division, created to enhance the company’s presence in building sustainable vehicles while also keeping some semblance of performance mixed into a stunning visual sports coupe that does its concept version justice.
The new i8 is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that delivers 231 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. Driving the front wheels make use of an electric motor that produces 131 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and when combined, the entire drivetrain produces 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, good enough to develop an estimated 0-to-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds to go with a top speed of around 155 mph.