BMW has been making some headlines in the automotive tech circuit over the past week. Earlier this week, the company revealed its brand new flagship 7-Series sedan which includes all the latest technological doodads as it does battle against Mercedes’ best-selling S-Class. Today, we revealed that BMW has partnered with Chinese internet services giant Baidu to bring a self-driving vehicle to the market by the end of 2015. And now, we’re hearing word that BMW is looking to bring a hotter version of its i8 hybrid sports car for “green” auto enthusiasts.
The i8 is already a fascinating vehicle with its futuristic styling, 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and accompanying electric that makes it both fuel efficient and fast. With the turbocharged gasoline engine and electric motor working together, the i8 has a total of 357 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque at the driver’s disposal. In addition, the 3,274-lb i8 can hit 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, travel up to 15 miles on battery power alone, and reach 75 mph in electric-only mode.
But for some, 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds just isn’t enough “getup and go” for a $100,000 sports car; after all, a $105,000, 4,500-pound Tesla Model S P85D can hit 60 mph in three seconds flat. So in order to give its i8 a bit more firepower, reports are suggesting that BMW will introduce a faster model which ditches the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine in favor of a larger 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Instead of the roughly 230 horsepower that the gasoline engine in the current i8 produces, the 2.0-liter mill would reportedly generate over 300 horsepower, which would swell total output (when combined with the electric motor) to around 450 horsepower. The increase in power is said to allow the high-performance i8 to hit 60 mph in well under 4 seconds.
BMW will offset the weight increase of the 2.0-liter engine by offering the i8 with unpainted carbon fiber body panels and only two seats (the current model has two small seats for rear passengers). But while BMW will likely do its best to reduce or at least keep weight in check, there’s no doubt that the price will surely balloon quickly past the current $135,700 base MSRP.