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BMW i8 Geneva debut reveals a hybrid that's running on fumes

Could a refreshed model be on the way soon?


BMW already announced two models debuting at the Geneva Motor Show -- the new 5 Series Touring and the refreshed 4 Series coupe. There's an underwhelming third model on the way, but it may give us a hint at things to come.

In addition to the two cars mentioned above, BMW will also bring some new i8 options to Geneva. Those options are...two paint colors. Yep, that's it. You can soon order an i8 in Frozen Black (matte black) or Frozen Yellow (matte yellow), but they're limited-edition colors and the latter won't be available until later this year. There are some bespoke additions to the interior, too, but they're largely the same.

To be fair, matte yellow paint looks pretty boss.


Otherwise, the i8 soldiers on unchanged for yet another year. Its 1.5-liter I3 mates to a hybrid-electric powertrain for a net output of 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It'll go for 15 miles on its battery alone, and it still looks like a freaking spaceship.

The i8 is a six-figure sports car, and that's reflected in its sales. In the US, it sells between 100 and 200 i8s per month, on average. But sales are slowing down Stateside, and have been since a peak in mid-2015. BMW's been promising a convertible i8 Spyder for years, but the latest estimates peg its release some time in 2018. By that point, the i8 is getting perilously close to being old news.

BMW might not leave the i8 high and dry, though. Rumor has it that the i8 is due for a refresh at some point this year, focusing largely on mechanical updates like a bigger battery and increased horsepower, which could appeal to supercar buyers and technophiles in equal measure. BMW's products tend to follow eight-year cycles, and following that rule would put a refresh in 2018, but perhaps BMW's i sub-brand deserves a bit more attention, given its connection to BMW's vision of the future of transportation.

That could be the reason the i8 Spyder hasn't yet materialized -- BMW's waiting to slap some new equipment in it. Let's hope so, because the i8 is too cool to be cast aside.