BMW Is Testing A Mid-Engined i8 Replacement
We do not know what BMW has in store, but right now they are testing a prototype that apparently has the engine placed just in front of the rear axle.
Today at the Nürburgring, a white, partially masked BMW 8 Series appeared which our spy photographer immortalized in a picture. At first he thought it was a first test prototype for the upcoming 8-series facelift, which should be relevant within one to two years.
But a very special detail stated that this is something completely different. The photographer saw that the rear side windows have been fitted with air intakes of the type that appear to channel air down to an engine that is located behind the passenger compartment - a center-mounted engine, quite simply.
What strengthens that it is a BMW with a mid-mounted engine is the masking on the rear window which is designed as a classic so-called "chicken ladder". Several super sports cars from the past just had a chicken ladder, including the icon BMW M1. Modern super sports cars also have similar detail over the rear window / engine, for example the Lamborghini Aventador.
The car itself looks like a combination of M8 and M850i xDrive Coupé. The front is tame as with the latter, while the rear is of the more aggressive type à la M8. Odd, but may be a sign that this is a rolling test bench for something completely different.
No-one knows what BMW entails, but what we see in the pictures is perhaps a test prototype of the so often mentioned successor to the super sports car M1, which was manufactured around the turn between the 1970s and 1980s and which had a central engine.
BMW has never directly confirmed that a successor is on the way, but there has been plenty of speculation, not least in connection with BMW presenting the M1 Hommage study at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este exhibition on Lake Como in Lake Twelve years ago.
It could also be some kind of sequel to BMW's latest mid-engined sports car, namely the plug-in hybrid i8, which was discontinued in June this year. However, from what's been presented so far, there is no three-cylinder 1.5-liter engine in the car that rolled on and around the Nürburgring!