Even though the current i8 didn’t live up to the sporty intentions BMW had for it, it doesn’t seem to have put the German luxury brand off high-dollar hybrid sports cars. Development of the next i8—we’re a fan of calling it the i8 M, as it should represent a significant performance improvement over the current model—is underway, and BMW’s Vision M Next concept is due in mid-2019 a proof A massive increase in power, a longer all-electric driving range, updated styling and a more capable chassis are all expected to separate the i8 M from the model it will eventually replace.
What’s new for 2026?
The i8 M—or whatever BMW decides to call its next-generation hybrid sports car—will be all-new for the 2026 model year. We expect to find out more as we get closer to the car’s on-sale date, which is expected to be sometime in 2025 as a 2026 model.
Prices and which one to buy
Without knowing how the i8 M will be equipped or what options may be available, it is difficult to recommend a specific model. We expect the i8 M to be offered in both a fixed-roof coupe body style as well as a ragtop roadster, similar to the previous-generation model’s lineup.
Engine, transmission and performance
The i8 M’s plug-in hybrid powertrain is expected to follow the same basic setup as the current i8, meaning an electric motor driving the front wheels and a mid-mounted petrol engine and electric motor for the rear wheels. Instead of the i8’s turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine, BMW said the new car will offer a turbocharged four-cylinder; the company also claims a total system output—gas and electric power combined—of 591 horsepower, which is far more than the i8’s 369-hp output. This upgraded powertrain will help the i8 M compete with rivals such as the Lexus LC500h and the new Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray.
Range, charging and battery life
The previous generation i8’s 18 mile electric driving range was unimpressive to say the least. BMW was mum on details like battery size, but said the electric driving range for the Vision M Next concept was a claimed 62 miles. That means either BMW’s engineers have found a way to squeeze a lot more miles out of the current car’s 11.6 kWh battery pack or they’ve found room for a much larger unit. It is almost certainly the latter. More information about the i8 M’s battery, range and charging capacity will be available closer to the car’s on-sale date.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t tested the i8 M or released estimates for its fuel economy—which isn’t surprising since the car doesn’t exist yet. In addition to improving the electric driving range, we expect the i8 M to offer slightly better fuel economy ratings than the current i8, despite an expected improvement in acceleration and driving performance. For more information on the i8 M’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
Little is known about the i8 M’s cabin so far, but we hope BMW addresses the i8’s difficult ingress and egress by equipping the new car with front-hinged doors and a lower side bench to make the interior easier to access. Like the previous car, the i8 M will be BMW’s playground for future styling and should feature unique materials, cutting-edge features and eye-catching designs. Storage and cargo capacity will likely remain limited, but a front trunk (or “frunk”) may make an appearance to provide additional luggage space.
Infotainment and connectivity
A lot can change in the world of in-car infotainment between now and 2026, so details on what might be offered in the i8 M are anyone’s guess. In the Vision M Next concept, BMW showed off a futuristic take on infotainment that the company calls the Boost Pod; it consists of multiple glass screens and a head-up display to give the driver access to car-related information and on-board entertainment features.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
Considering the i8 M is still a few years away, it’s possible that more advanced driver assistance features will appear, including perhaps a true autonomous driving system. Time will tell. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane departure warning with lane keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Cover
BMW’s warranty coverage could change between now and 2024, but if everything remains steady in this area, expect the same warranty package available on today’s lineup. A dedicated hybrid component warranty is anything but a certainty, and we hope that BMW continues to offer a complimentary three-year maintenance plan for all new models.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Hybrid components are covered for 8 years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 3 years or 36,000 miles