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BMW i8 Roadster in 2018

In a recent press conference, BMW confirmed the i8 Roadster won’t arrive until 2018. The automaker also outlined plans for a brand new “i” model called the BMW i NEXT.

We’ve been waiting for a BMW i8 roadster for quite some time, and rumors have indicated it had been delayed due to engineering setbacks. When it arrives in two years, it will likely offer the same plug-in hybrid setup as the coupe model, which came out in 2014.

Early in the next decade, BMW vows to add a new model to its “i” range — the BMW i NEXT. It will feature “highly autonomous driving” technology, lightweight construction, and what BMW calls “the next generation of electro-mobility.”

“In the years ahead, the i NEXT will be what our BMW 7 Series is today: individual mobility in its finest and most contemporary form,” Klaus Frhlich, member of the BMW board of management for development, said during the presentation.

BMW has also confirmed it will increase battery range on the i3 by 50 percent. The model arrives later this year, and it will also offer an updated design.

Apart from the “i” lineup, BMW will continue bringing out plug-in hybrid versions of its series models. In the future, all BMW models with plug-in hybrid powertrains will be offered under the “iPerformance” label, including the BMW 740e iPerformance. By July, BMW will offer seven plug-in hybrid or full electric models, with more to come in the future. A plug-in hybrid Mini is also on the way.

Meanwhile, a Rolls-Royce SUV will indeed launch by the end of this decade. What won’t come by the end of this decade, BMW says, is a fully autonomous car.

“We firmly believe that this decade will not see large-scale production of an autonomous vehicle that meets the premium needs of our customers. The most we foresee is pilot tests in a restricted setting,” Frhlich said in the presentation, adding that technical and social challenges still remain. We’ll have to wait and see what level of autonomy the BMW i NEXT, due out next decade, offers customers.

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