How to celebrate BMW’s centenary in 2016? Munich believes the BMW i8S supercar is the perfect birthday present to itself - a way of melding everything it’s learned through the electric Project i programme with its well-seasoned experience in developing high-octane M division sports cars.
Revealed in the new December 2014 issue of CAR magazine, project M100 is defining a new hero car to crown BMW’s 100th birthday. Incidentally, it could also be a parting gift for BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer, who is expected to step down in 2016 or 2017.
He is not solely interested in power and torque, speed and prestige. He knows that performance is an integral part of the BMW DNA, but seems determined to pair it with a large measure of environmental friendliness. That’s why M100 is being developed by the Project i team under the new programme director Roberto Fedeli, who recently moved from Ferrari’s Maranello HQ to Munich.
Click here to see a free digital preview of the new issue of CAR magazine.
What we know about the new BMW i8S project M100
Although the name has yet to be finalised, we hear that the i8S badge is a working title for this sports car, which will be shown for BM’s centenary - and hit showrooms a year later by the end of 2017.
It is not merely an engineering showpiece but a proper production model, CAR understands. Although it is loosely based on the i8, the flagship coupe features so many bespoke parts that it could almost be described as a new car. The i8’s Life and Drive modules - the carbonfibre upper and the aluminium-intensive chassis - will be retained, but the individual elements are more comprehensively integrated, the material mix is even more diverse and the more efficient packaging eliminates the token rear seats in favour of a bigger luggage bay, sources say.
Expect a virtually redesigned suspension with more aggressive kinematics, along with stronger brakes and wider tyres. Even though the new flagship coupe bears a certain resemblance to the i8, it is safe to expect that the car will sport an even more dynamic look as well as ground-effect aerodynamics.
What will power the 2016 BMW i8S?
This remains an i8-based sports car, which means it’ll still be a plug-in hybrid. Total system power output will reportedly be in excess of 500bhp; the combined torque stands around the 520lb ft mark.
The new mid-engined coupe is still being evaluated in two different configurations: one features a twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine rated at approximately 320bhp, the other one boasts a 3.0-litre straight six good for close to 480bhp.
While the petrol engine drives the rear wheels just like in the i8, the electric motor propels the front wheels. Its power output is 109bhp when mated to the six and 204bhp when supporting the four.
How fast is the new BMW sports car?
Although the kerb weight of the S model is bound to exceed the 1490 kilos recorded for the i8, the extra 150-plus horses should nonetheless provide a clear performance advantage. Word is, the i8S will sprint from 0-62mph in just 3.5sec, more than half a second quicker than today’s i8.
Click here to see a full preview of the new December 2014 issue of CAR magazine.