BMW i8 convertible possibly delayed until 2018

BMW has been showing off a proposed convertible version of its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car for 2 years now. It even brought a version with no doors to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. But now, the company says the i8 convertible may not make it into production until next year or even the year after that.

“There will be no new i models in 2016. Not even the convertible,” a well-placed BMW source says. “The i8 is selling well enough now, so the lineup doesn’t strictly need it, We are doing it, we are just doing it slowly because it’s not all we are doing.”

That last part suggests the long rumored i5 — a car about which very little is known — will make it into showrooms ahead of the i8 convertible.

Some speculate that BMW is waiting for the more powerful mechanicals used in the Formula E i8 safety car to be production ready. Or it may be that the i8 needs additional stiffening to make up for the loss of rigidity that results when the roof is cut off the i8 coupe.

It seems more likely, though, that BMW is concentrating its efforts on a car that will have broad market appeal. As lovely as the idea of a topless i8 may be, it will likely sell in relatively small numbers.