BMW has provided the strongest indication yet that it is working on a more powerful version of its i8 hybrid sports car.
A company insider revealed that engineers are testing a prototype i8 with a four-cylinder engine in place of the production model’s turbocharged three-cylinder unit. The bigger engine will work in conjunction with a more powerful electric motor.
The four-wheel-drive car will be able to sprint from 0-100km/h in 3sec, our source hinted, which will place it among the fastest accelerating supercars in the world. The current i8 manages the benchmark sprint in 4.4s.
A four-cylinder engine is the largest BMW unit that will fit in the i8, and could be tuned to produce in excess of 225kW. Combined with a high-output electric motor it is likely that BMW is targeting 375kW, which should more than make up for any additional weight caused by the bigger petrol engine (the production i8 weighs 1485kg and has a combined output of 265kW).
BMW has previously said its electric “i” programme and high-performance Motorsport Division would be separate entities, so the new and more powerful i8 will not be branded as an M car. Instead, expect it to wear S or possibly even GTS badging. The car may go on sale to tie in with the company’s centenary next year.