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2021 August
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Car and Driver: BMW i8 Roadster Happening, Along With a Plug-In Hybrid Mini, Improved i3 EV


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BMW i8 Concept Spyder

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BMW’s conflicting messaging surrounding a potential i8 convertible—the CEO saying one would happen, but the company saying no even after a topless concept car was shown, then another—appears to be settled. An i8 roadster based on the i8 coupe is apparently a go, based on a sweeping strategy proclamation BMW released outlining its future plans. No other details of the i8’s arrival time (beyond “in the coming years”) were given, but BMW took the opportunity to announce two other key developments in its electrified vehicle portfolio.
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First up, the strategy all of this news sprouted from: BMW is calling it “Strategy Number One>NEXT.” The plan includes provisions for a BMW iNEXT sub-brand, which is positioned as an evolution of today’s i electric vehicle brand, as well as “Project i 2.0,” which will focus on the evolution of advanced mapping, autonomous-driving, and artificial intelligence technologies.

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Seemingly beneath this tech-y new umbrella, the new i8 roadster will be born, as well as a plug-in hybrid Mini, and the previously announced i3 EV update. BMW doesn’t specify what form the PHEV Mini will take—be it a standard Cooper hatchback, a Clubman, the next Countryman crossover, or some other model. As for the i3 EV, it will be bolstered by a higher-capacity battery that will offer greater electric-only driving range.

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These three new electrified BMWs should help establish BMW iNEXT’s goals (which, we should point out, essentially mirror those of today’s i brand) of developing “trendsetting technologies and services, subsequently transferring them to the BMW model range.” Left out of BMW’s pronouncements, strangely, was any mention of the upcoming third i model, set to slot in between the i3 and the i8 sometime soon. Maybe it’ll get a mention iNextime.

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