HomeCar NewsBMWBMW i8 Production Ends - Last unit (20,500th) leaves Leipzig factory

BMW i8 Production Ends – Last unit (20,500th) leaves Leipzig factory

The very last model is an i8 Roadster in Portimao Blue, sold to a private owner in Germany

Earlier this year, German automaker BMW announced plans to discontinue the i8 hybrid 2+2 sportscar in April and later add it to the ‘BMW Hall of Fame’. But COVID-19 crisis came in the way and pushed the schedule further back.

After a delay of almost two months, the Bavarian marque has finally rolled out the very last or 20,500th BMW i8 unit from the Leipzig factory. The model in question is a Roadster variant finished in Portimao Blue. It is going to a private owner in Germany.

Introduced in Coupe format back in 2014 (two-seater Roadster variant debuted in 2017), the BMW i8 is one of the very few cars that could justify the tag “futuristic styling”. The sportscar will eventually become a modern classic without tarnishing the image of being a car designed keeping future styling trends in mind. It is pretty nonsensical to design and stylise a product for the future, simply because nobody has actually seen the future — except maybe Marty McFly, John Connor and The Simpsons.

The i8 is essentially the production version of BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept which was unveiled at 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. Its ahead-of-time styling was brought to reality by the Head of Design at ‘BMW i’, Benoit Jacob. Outdated equipment and growing competition were the factors that retarded it from remaining future-ready. On the bright side, the BMW i8 will not look weird or quirky in the years to come like several “futuristic” examples of the past.

BMW never wished to make the i8 a serious performer. Instead, it was meant to strike an ideal balance between dynamics and efficiency. For the same reason, the car had a sophisticated powertrain unheard of in its segment then. The BMW i8 initially came with a 1.5-litre TwinPower Turbo three-cylinder motor that made 228bhp @ 5,800rpm and 319Nm @ 3,700rpm. This was coupled to a 96kW motor rated at 129bhp/250Nm alongside a 7.1kWh battery unit. In 2018, BMW introduced a battery upgrade (11.8kWh) hiking the all-electric output to 141bhp/250Nm.

BMW i8 discontinued
BMW’s i8 amidst some Bavarian icons

Thus, in its last and latest avatar, the BMW i8 made a combined output of 369bhp and 570Nm. The car was effectively AWD as the electric motor powered the front axle while the mid-layout three-cylinder propelled the rear. It boasted of an impressive fuel economy of 10km/l, combined range of over 500km and a top speed of 250km/h (limited). Furthermore, it could run in pure-electric format for almost 30km.

BMW has not shared any plans to introduce a successor to the i8. However, the 2019 Vision M Next concept appears to take a similar approach. For starters, it gets butterfly doors.

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