Updated BMW i8 coming next year?

The gas-electric sports car will get more power and -- finally -- a roadster variant.

BMW is preparing to give the plug-in hybrid i8 a series of updates inside, outside, and in the engine bay.

The i8 will carry on with a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain built around a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a compact electric motor. The system's total output will be raised to 372 horsepower, a slight increase of 15 horses over the current model (pictured).

Enthusiast website BMW Blog reports the futuristic-looking coupe will receive the bigger, 10-kWh battery pack that already powers the i8 being used as a safety car during Formula E races. The new battery is expected to give the i8 considerably more range, though more specific technical specifications aren't available yet.

The mechanical upgrades will be complemented by a handful of chassis modifications designed to improve handling, including a revised suspension system. The i8 will also receive visual tweaks, though they'll likely be minor and evolutionary at best. An updated infotainment system -- possibly with gesture control tech -- will round out the changes.

The improved BMW i8 coupe is expected to make its official debut next year, meaning it could land in showrooms in time for the 2018 model year. BMW Blog has learned the updated i8 will spawn the long-awaited roadster model that was previewed by a close-to-production concept introduced at the 2012 edition of the Beijing Auto Show.

Photos by Ronan Glon.

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