In 2016, BMW will celebrate 100 years of roundels, inline-sixes, motorcycles, M-car hoonage, asshat parking jobs and other magic things. This is a special anniversary and one that merits a special celebration. Could the Bavarian automaker do that by making a hopped-up version of the BMW i8, their super-futuremobile?
That's what Germany's Auto Motor und Sport says. The publication claims that, in honor of BMW's looming centennial, the world will see an even more extreme version of the i8 possibly called the i9.
In its current form the i8 is powered by a mid-mounted, turbocharged three-cylinder engine whose power is supplemented by a battery and electric motor for a combined 362 horsepower. Auto Motor says this i9 could get an inline six-cylinder engine instead and a more powerful electric motor good for a sub-four second zero to 60 mph time.
The thing is, we're a little skeptical about this report, in part because Damon has driven the i8 and he's not sure how they'll fit a larger engine back there. Space is pretty tight as-is, so how BMW plans to stuff three more cylinders in there is anyone's guess.
Then again, this i9 could be an extensively modified version of the i8, possibly even a longer one. It could be a very different animal than its younger brother and an even stronger performer.
Frankly, making a supercar with a mid-engined inline-six — just like the original M1 — and adding hybrid power to it seems like a great way for BMW to bridge its past with its future. I think it's an entirely appropriate car for their 100th anniversary, but we'll see if it even materializes at all. Plus, we know there will be more i-cars coming from BMW. This could be one of them.
Anyone else think an i9 is a good way to celebrate 100 years of BMW?