The effort is being spearheaded by Project i team leader Ulrich Kranz, under new program director Roberto Fedeli, who recently moved over from Ferrari. Although it is loosely based on the BMW i8, the flagship coupe features so many bespoke parts that it could almost be described as a new car. The life module and the drive module — the carbon fiber upper and the aluminum-intensive chassis — will be retained, but the individual elements are more comprehensively integrated, the material mix is even more diverse, and the revised packaging eliminates the token rear seats in favor of a bigger luggage bay, sources say. Since BMW has learned a lot about carbon fiber with the i3 and i8, the company will clearly try to further improve critical aspects such as torsional and bending rigidity, crash performance, and durability. Also on the to-do list is a firmer, reworked suspension along with stronger brakes and wider tires. Even though the new car bears a certain resemblance to the i8, we expect that it will sport an even more dynamic look as well as more aggressive aerodynamic aids.
Since strong demand suggests that BMW could have charged more for the base i8 (pictured here) than $136,625 with destination, the i8S will likely carry a 30 percent premium over its sibling. Look for it to reach showrooms in late 2017.