BMW’s New Boss Drops Plans for the M8 and i8s
Norbert Reithofer is set to step down as the CEO of BMW on May 13th, but his successor and former production chief, Harald Krueger, is already starting to shake things up with the elimination of the i8S, M8, and other key Bimmer and Mini concepts.
The i8S was all but confirmed just months ago, but now this higher-output version of the already impressive i8 is on the scrapheap. Another high-profile BMW concept turned reject under the new regime is the M8. Initial reports about the M8 claimed it would share most of its styling elements with the i8, but under its hood, it would have a twin-turbo V-8 with about 600 horsepower.
While both the i8S and the M8 were awesome on paper, neither made too much business sense. Both would take away from potential i8 sales, despite the power and price differences, and there just isn’t much room in Bimmer’s customer base for this many supercars.
In the midst of all this spring cleaning, there was one concept that remained: the i5. According to the report, the i5 will receive the go-ahead later in 2015 as a traditional, three-box sedan with a pure-electric powertrain or a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The all-electric model will reportedly use a 225-horsepower motor in the rear and a 135-horsepower motor up front, while the plug-in hybrid would use a 275-horsepower electric motor and either a three- or four-cylinder engine.
Continue reading to learn more about the elimination of these models.
Why it matters
This is more than just a ding-dong-measuring contest between the new and old regimes. To me, it seems like a new regime that is trying to make sense of a lineup that has been growing nearly out of control. Like an unkempt yard, BMW has been going in so many directions it’s hard to distinguish weeds from grass. A key example is the idiocy behind putting the bold sedan/coupe line between the 3 Series and 4 Series, but then releasing the four-door 4 Series Gran Coupe.
I think Krueger is working toward limiting the growth to models that actually matter and whittling its current offerings down to the key models that sell best. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of changes under this new leadership, and this may mean that there are even better years ahead for BMW. Alternatively, it could spell an early exit for the new boss man. We’ll see.