BMW chief designer posts pictures of canceled i8 successor

More than ten years ago, BMW shook the car world with its first i-cars, the i3 and the i8. In 2019, it showed a concept for a successor of the PHEV i8 sports car called Vision M Next. The canceled production version of this car, called I16, has now been revealed by BMW’s chief designer, Domagoj Dukic, on Instagram.

“This is another well-kept secret: the I16,” says Dukic on his Instagram account. “Developed as a successor for the BMW i8, this is a project I was involved in personally.”

BMW Vision M Next

The I16 evolved from the Vision M Next show car, which BMW presented in 2019 and was appealing to many BMW enthusiasts. The car wanted to give a preview of what the future could be for a sports car, as the original i8 already had done. In this case, digitalization is aimed at even more driving pleasure and emotional attachment.

At the time, the BMW designteam took elements from the iconic M1, the BMW Turbo, and the i8 and tried to interpret these into the future. “In Vision M Next, intelligent technologies support the driver by giving the right information at the appropriate time,” said Dukic at the time.

The Vision M Next was the result of an internal design contest at BMW in 2019 /BMW

The Vision M NEXT was the result of an internal contest at BMW. The designers competed with each other with sketches and virtual visual renderings of a possible future sports car. In several rounds, the best designs were selected and finally led to one car project that became a reality. The process from the first idea to the actual ‘vision car’ took 18 months.

BMW I16

“The I16 had all the style of a future classic, but there were still novel touches that moved the design forward from the M1,” Dukic recalls in its Instagram post. “Within less than 12 months, the car was ready, inside and out. The key was to use the composite structure of the BMW i8. If you look closely, you will find a few cues.”

But 2020 was also the year of the pandemic, and BMW found itself to have other things to do than release a new ‘supercar’ for the wealthy few. “But history was not to be made,” Dukic continues. “While we pushed, the world changed in 2020. And so, work on the project unfortunately had to be stopped.”

And BMW’s chief designer concludes: “That’s how life goes sometimes. As designers, we are familiar with the many twists and turns of such projects. Nevertheless, we’ll never stop dreaming and exploring new possibilities, and there’s always a new project waiting around the corner…”

The i at BMW

At the beginning of the second decade of this millennium, BMW launched its i sub-brand, introducing electric mobility. The first i-cars BMW launched were the small and fully electric i3 city car (2013) and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car (2014).

The i8 came on the market in 2014 and was produced until 2020. There was also a Spyder variant /BMW

They were very different, but what they had in common was their lightweight carbon fiber composite structure. And that is probably one of the reasons why they never had a successor. BMW completely miscalculated the cost of carbon fiber used in a regular production car, and sources say they lost money on the cars, especially on the i3, despite their hefty price tags.

The fact that neither car ever really sold well didn’t arrange things either. The i3 was most probably too weird and special as a BMW to lure the classic BMW owners at the time. The company sold some 250,000 units of it in an almost 10-year lifespan.

BMW’s top management got a (financial) hangover from this first i-experience and delayed further electric developments for a certain period, which meant they lost their initial advantage and had to catch up with Tesla and other Chinese brands later.

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