The i8 is simply an incredible machine. It somehow manages to marry fuel efficiency and performance in a sexy package that boggles the mind. A total of 357 horses isn’t anything insane in today’s world, but to wrap my head around 228 of those ponies coming from a turbocharged three-cylinder engine is enough to make me dizzy. Then to adding in a 129-horsepower electric motor and tuning it all to deliver 76 MPGe and a 4.2-second 0-to-60 sprint makes me think I am living in some alternate universe. This may sound dramatic, but I grew up in the era of the 55-horsepower Geo Metro, so my view on three-cylinders and fuel efficiency is still a tad distorted.
Ever since the i8 debuted, there have been rumors of an even hotter version being in the works, despite BMW’s repeated denials of such a creature. But now we’re back with yet another report of a retuned i8 that Bimmer will develop in celebration of its 100th birthday in 2016. This report is courtesy of Automobile Magazine, which goes on to specify that this higher-performance i8 is currently codenamed the M100, but will likely wear an i8S badge when it hits showrooms.
Automobile claims that the i8S will feature more advanced carbon-fiber work for enhanced rigidity, a stiffer suspension, wider tires and upgraded brakes. The magazine also claims that it will be the gracious host of more than 500 raging ponies. The reports says that BMW is currently testing a pair of drivetrains that combine a gasoline-powered engine and an electric motor. One drivetrain option features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 320 ponies combined with a 204-horsepower electric motor, while the other drivetrain combines a roughly 480-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six with a 109-horsepower electric motor.
Regardless of which drivetrain BMW moves forward with, the rumored i8S will produce well over 500 horsepower and will feature a nine-cog dual-clutch transmission. This will allow the i8S to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in around 3.5 ticks of the second hand, which is 0.6 seconds faster than the current i8.
According to the report, the i8S will hit dealers in 2017 at roughly $178,000.