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BMW: ‘We should build the i8 roadster ASAP’

Good news! R&D chief tells TG he wants an open-top i8 on the road very soon

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“I have brought with me a concept car which is a vision of the not-so-distant future. It is a concept with emotional appeal,” explains BMW’s development boss Klaus Froehlich. “I think we’re pretty good at building cars like this.

“I personally believe we should build this car as soon as possible,” he adds

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a BMW board member expressing his desire to put the new BMW i Vision Future Interaction into production. Which means an i8 roadster.

Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Mr Froehlich told TG that the spectacular Vision FI was based on an i8 because “we wanted to show that driving pleasure and connectivity are not separate; they belong together.” That, and the fact that he wanted to tease the possibility of an open-roof i8.

“We like it as a car,” he told us, “and when I like something, we normally do it.” There’s a good case for a car like this, he said. “And the i8 Coupe has been a big a success for us, at one point we had a 12 month waiting list. It’s the logical addition to the coupe – it’s open driving pleasure.”

He noted how the normal development time for such a derivative was less than three years. “So I will hurry,” he added. “Based on the feedback, it could be even faster.”

BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk issued similar sentiments. “As my boss said, he would like to see something like this in production as soon as possible,” he told TG. “I take a lot of optimism from that. So maybe there’s a chance we didn’t do all of this for no reason.”

You’ll no doubt spot that the concept doesn’t have any doors – to better see the interior, says Hooydonk – but in a promotional video launched at the show, the concept wore the same butterfly doors as the coupe. Which is good news. There’s no word on powertrains or performance at this stage - it’s all about the connectivity of course - but the i8 Coupe’s petrol-electric setup is sure to feature.

Hooydonk also noted that should this i8 Roadster go into production, the dashboard could crossover into the coupe, too. “It’s definitely possible, yes,” he said.

The dash of course, is the reason why BMW is here. The company is showing off the new generation of ‘gesture control’ as seen on the 7-Series, along with a new ‘connected drive’ setup that personalises and constantly updates the entire driving process.

“For me, this car represents the heart of BMW,” Froehlich said. “Breathtaking design, innovation and pure driving pleasure.” Let us know your thoughts below, and head here for the full story on the Vision Future Interaction concept.

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