BMW is ready to launch petrol-electric i8 sports car

BMW may finally be ready to launch a convertible version of the petrol-electric i8 sports car; a concept version will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The 2015 CES has been a huge show for car makers, the popular electronics show has turned lately into an automotive showcase of the latest and greatest gadgets from automakers around the wold. BMW, Mercedes and Audi have all wowed the audience with the launch of several concept vehicles and high-tech features.

And now the 2016 edition is rumored to be just as big as the previous show and BMW is once again ready to amaze the world with a concept car. While not entirely new, a refreshed version of the BMW i8 Spyder Concept – first unveiled in 2012 – will  make a debut in January in Vegas.

Speaking to Autocar at the time, a company spokesman said there would be “no set timeframe” for the launch of the car. However, it now appears that BMW has solved those challenges, so a launch within the next 12 months is likely. Indeed, BMW boss Harald Krueger has reportedly told German media that a production version of the car isn’t far off.

As CES is a technology-focussed event, the concept car is likely to focus more on the i8’s technology than its scope as a production model. Alongside improvements to the i8’s range of connectivity and safety systems, minor alterations to the powertrain and battery pack are expected to increase its electric-only range above the 23 miles of the coupé.

Like the i8 Coupé, the Spyder features a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine mounted at the rear working with a front-mounted electric motor, producing a combined 228bhp. BMW says the i8 Coupé can reach 62mph in 4.4 seconds – a figure the Spyder is expected to match.

The i8’s plug-in hybrid powertrain will likely carryover, while getting an updated battery pack and a potential increase in power. The current i8 makes 360 horsepower and hits 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of  250 km/h (155 mph).

The i8 Spyder is one of a number of automotive debuts scheduled for the CES show. Faraday Future will also unveil their Tesla Model S rival, and Audi is expected to preview the next A8 with an autonomous driving concept.

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