MUNICH, Germany — BMW confirmed plans for the production of the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster, along with two other new or revamped models in its hybrid-electric lineup.
The announcement, by BMW Chairman Harald Krueger, lays the groundwork for the continued expansion of the automaker's hybrid and EV offerings, which, beginning this year, will include the 3 Series Hybrid, ActiveHybrid 5, X5 Plug-in Hybrid, i3 Hatchback electric and i8 Coupe hybrid.
In addition to the news about the i8 Roadster, BMW announced that by the end of 2016, it will release an updated i3 all-electric hatchback with a new design, 50 percent more battery capacity and increased range.
The other new model, called the iNext, is still in the early planning stages, but Krueger said: "This symbol of our technology leadership will demonstrate how we will bring the future of mobility into series production."
BWM also noted that with the iNext, "BMW Group brings new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and trailblazing interior design that will set new standards for the customer's mobility experience."
More recently, BMW displayed the i Vision Future Interaction Concept, a two-seat roadster, at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
Although few details have been released about the i8 Roadster, its specifications are likely to be similar to those of the coupe, which is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 357 horsepower.
Fuel economy for the i8 coupe is EPA-rated at 76 mpg in combined city/highway driving using both electric and gas power, range is a claimed 15 miles on electric power alone, and BMW says the car accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
Edmunds says: Shoppers looking to combine top-down driving with BMW i8 technology and performance will want to stay tuned for the introduction of the i8 Roadster.