We first saw the BMW i8 Concept Spyder back in 2012 not long after the i8 Coupe was revealed; remarkably though, BMW has resisted putting it into production, despite the big impact of the hard-top. Finally, it looks like it's set to arrive, as a 2018 model-year car, possibly as part of a mid-life facelift for the i8 hybrid-electric supercar.
BMW's confirmed as much by releasing a teaser video of the car, which it now calls i8 Roadster: it seems the concept's Spyder name will not be carried through into production, sadly. The vehicle here is naturally covered with disguise, with the only undisguised bit oddly being the key all-new area – the soft-top roof.
The same double-hump rear as the i8 Vision Future Interaction concept can be seen beneath the disguise, as can a model that otherwise appears very similar to the i8 Coupe it's derived from. Time will tell whether mild tweaks and upgrades in line with a mid-life facelift feature beneath the camouflage.
As it's probably a facelifted i8, expect the i8 Roadster to thus carry the power upgrade all revised i8s are expected to earn. This will take the three-cylinder petrol-electric drivetrain up to around 380 horsepower – and range should be increased as well, thanks to the introduction of higher capacity battery packs.
Don't be surprised to see a production version at either the Frankfurt Motor Show or LA Auto Show; we'd err towards the former, simply because it will give the firm time to get in the orders ready for spring 2018 delivery. Of course, there will be a decent price premium over the hard-top: expect prices to start from around £120,000. That'll still be at least £10,000 less than an Audi R8 Spyder...