In what might resemble a tale from a parallel automotive universe, the BMW i16 rises as a phantom of innovation, a supercar that almost reached our roads. This spiritual successor to the emblematic BMW i8 was to mark another era in plug-in hybrid technology, yet its fate was sealed by the global pandemic. The i16 project, helmed by BMW's design chief Damagoj Dukec, was revealed through a series of images that painted a vivid picture of what was to come. The i16 not only promised to inherit the composite structure of its predecessor but also to advance its aesthetic impact with a silhouette nodding at the 2019 Vision M Next concept car. Unlike the controversial design of the i8, the i16 aimed to refine the supercar's presence with sharper lines and presumably gull-wing doors, hinting at an evolution that was both aggressive and elegant.
Behind the scenes, the development of the i16 was remarkably swift; in under a year, the car was set, both inside and out, reusing the established backbone of the i8 to propel itself toward potential production. Notably, the i16's resemblance extended beyond mere looks as it shared key architectural elements like the windscreen's base positioning with the i8. However, as details of the i16's drivetrain remain unspecified, enthusiasts can only speculate how BMW might have upgraded the i8's mid-mounted 1.5-liter turbo petrol engine, front electric motor, and centrally embedded high-voltage battery that, by the close of its production, collectively delivered 275kW of power, 570Nm of torque, and facilitated a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.4 seconds along with a 55km electric range.
The global shutdown triggered by COVID-19 in 2020, however, brought a halt to aspirations of the i16's emergence from the design studio to the highways. Despite the efforts and the advanced stage of the project, the i16's journey concluded prematurely. Dukec's response to this turn of events was imbued with a philosophical note — for designers, the development pathway is rife with such irrevocable twists. While the i16 will now dwell in the corridors of unfulfilled automotive dreams, the design team's passion remains undeterred, constantly chasing new avenues of creativity, waiting for the next visionary project to take shape.