BMW i8 Spyder convertible may be on the way

BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car is one of next year's most anticipated cars, and now it appears a convertible version is also on the cards. The BMW i8 coupe will be introduced in 2015, and the convertible model could arrive two years after that. 

Jae C. Hong/AP/File
The interior of the 2014 BMW i8 is photographed at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. A BMW i8 Spyder model may be nearing approval.

The 2015 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car is one of next year's most anticipated cars, and now it appears a convertible version is also on the cards. BMW showed off a convertible i8 Spyder when the i8 was still at its concept stage, but Bimmerpost suggests the model might have gained official approval for production. It's touted for a late 2015 introduction, which confirms earlier estimates that a Spyder model would arrive around two years after the coupe hit the market.

The company first unveiled the i8 Spyder in 2012, following the original i8 concept's introduction at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. It was the first i8 concept to allow a closer look at the final production car's styling, without the unique glass doors of previous concepts. It's expected that many of the Spyder concept's styling details will make it through to the final production version, such as the clearly defined tonneau humps behind the driver and passenger. However, much of the car's styling will be a straight port from the production coupe.

A production intent model apparently shown to BMW insiders featured a Solar Orange color scheme--the same shade available on the i3--with blue highlights, a familiar feature of BMW's i-car range. It's set to feature an identical drivetrain to the coupe, which means a 1.5-liter TwinPower turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline unit, complemented by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. The engine provides its 231 horsepower to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, while front drive is handled by the 131-horse motor. There's enough juice in the battery for up to 22 miles range--though naturally, gasoline power extends it well beyond that.

One thing that's likely to change is the price. BMW has already confirmed the coupe will retail from $135,925, and it's unlikely the Spyder will cost any less. For some form of comparison, the latest 4-Series Convertible costs over $8,000 more than its coupe equivalent, and there's a similar gap between the 6-Series coupe and its convertible counterpart.

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