BMW Holds Off Release Of i8 Spyder
Don’t expect the sports car to arrive at least until 2017by Kirby Garlitos, on
The BMW i8 Spyder has been baking in BMW’s oven for quite some time now, and if a recent report from Motoring Australia proves to be true, it could stay there for the foreseeable feature. According to the said report, BMW is putting the development of the i8 Spyder on the back burner for the time being. As such, don’t expect the car to hit dealerships until late 2017 or even in 2018.
No specific details were offered on why the i8 Spyder would be delayed, but there does seem to be no rush from BMW to get the sports car on the road. For the time being, it appears that BMW will instead focus on another i model, the BMW i5, in response to the continued growth of rival Tesla.
So, the i5 will likely be the next i model that BMW launches, leaving the company enough time to continue working on the i8 Spyder. Changes will likely be made from the initial concept that was first teased at the 2014 and again with the i Vision Future Interaction concept that debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show a few weeks earlier.
The plug-in hybrid powertrain is expected to remain the same as the one that’s powering the i8 coupe, although BMW could still tweak the system to give the i8 Spyder more power. Changes could come with the construction of the car’s body, even though BMW has insisted that the i8’s carbon fiber structure would be strong enough to accommodate the loss of torsional rigidity that a roof provides. Still, this delay could just be BMW’s way of going back to the drawing board to make the necessary changes in the i8 Spyder’s structure.
Only time will tell if any changes are made to the car. For now, don’t expect to see the BMW i8 Spyder anytime soon. That much appears to be a certainty.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Why it matters
While it is a little disappointing, I can’t say that I’m surprised that BMW is willing to hold off on the launch of the i8 Spyder. Maybe it’s because of the success of the i8 coupe that the German automaker is willing to take this gamble. The i8, after all, has been received exceptionally well, and if Bimmer wants to milk its success for all its worth, it certainly has the right to do that.
That said, I do think that there are some issues with the i8 Spyder and BMW is just not telling us about it. Usually, an automaker who releases a well-received sports car would be itching to do a convertible follow-up as soon as possible in the hopes that the momentum created by the coupe would seamlessly flow into the convertible version. Well, it’s been a few years since the i8 coupe arrived, so it figures that the i8 Spyder would follow soon, right? Well, that’s not going to be the case if it’s going to take another two years for it to arrive. Something must have happened, or at least something unexpected for BMW to take this approach.
Certainly, it’s well within the company’s right to make sure that the i8 Spyder is ready before it’s released so, I think that BMW is looking at other ways to build the car without compromising the aesthetic and performance credentials of the car. It could be trying out versions of the plug-in hybrid powertrain or it could be redesigning the car altogether. The reasons are being kept under wraps and I can’t blame BMW for doing it.
Then there’s another possible reason, one that I think also makes sense. Is it possible that BMW is looking to round the i family into shape before releasing the i8 Spyder. The i5 has been thrown out as the most likely car to get a release date soon. That makes sense considering how eager BMW is to cut into Tesla and the Model S’s electric sedan market share. With the Model S proving to be incredibly popular in its own right, BMW could see it as a golden opportunity for the i5 to make a serious dent in the segment.
Whatever reasons BMW may have, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that it has put a lot of eggs in that i basket. That’s awesome, especially when you consider how fast the plug-in hybrid and electric car markets are growing in recent years.
Read our full review on the BMW i8 Spyder here.