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BMW Designer Reveals Rakish i8 Replacement That Never Was

2026 bmw i16 concept sketches
BMW Head Designer Reveals Shelved i8 ReplacementBMW/Domagoj Dukec Instagram
  • BMW hasn't offered a high-dollar, flashy sports car since the departure of the i8 in 2020, but the company's head of design recently showed off a shelved successor.

  • Domagoj Dukec, BMW's head designer, recently posted a series of sketches and renderings to his personal Instagram account, revealing the previously unconfirmed vehicle.

  • According to Dukec, the i16 was developed as a successor to the i8 and evolved from the 2019 Vision M Next concept car.

Oh, what could have been. Reaching back into the vault, BMW's Head of Design Domagoj Dukec recently took to Instagram to show off previously private sketches of the i8's replacement. Throughout the post, Dukec refers to the vehicle as the i16, which he says he was involved in personally.

“The I16 had all the style of a future classic, but there were still novel touches that moved the design forward from the M1,” Dukec wrote on Instagram. “Within less than 12 months the car was ready—inside and out. The key was to use the composite structure of the BMW i8. If you look closely, you will find a few cues!”

2026 bmw i16 concept sketches
BMW/Domagoj Dukec Instagram

A Familiar Look

Obviously, the i16 never came to fruition, but there was a time we thought it would. Since BMW revealed the jagged-edged Vision M Next concept in 2019, we wondered if that car would turn into a replacement for its exotic and unconventional i8 hybrid sports car. We thought the new car would bear i8 M badging to mark improvements such as increases in power, a longer electric driving range, more aggressive styling, and a more capable chassis. Unfortunately, our future tellers failed to see that when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in 2020, BMW would shelve the project.

The sketches don't reveal any updated specs, but the original Vision M Next concept claimed 591 horsepower from a mid-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled with a plug-in-hybrid system. At the time, BMW estimated a 62-mph time of 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.

Looking at the images Dukec shared, we can see a healthy mix of the original i8 paired with the Vision M Next, but we can also spot BMW's current design language folded in as well. The flared hood and front fender intakes remind us an awful lot of the current M3 and M4 sedans, while the razor-thin taillights look like they could have been plucked from the iX production line.

2026 bmw i16 concept sketches
BMW/Domagoj Dukec Instagram

It's a shame that BMW never built the i16 for real, but it's still interesting to see behind the curtain—and we'll still hold out hope for an electric BMW supercar in the not-too-distant future.

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