BMW i8 production has come to an end, but the Germans made sure the hybrid sports car went out with a bang by making each of the final 18 examples in unique colors. These were shades that were never before applied to the vehicle during its production run.
BMW said that building 18 cars consecutively in a one-off color posed a challenge. It forced technicians to paint them by hand. The company also had to work with suppliers to get some components in the custom shade.
"For BMW i8 production to end with a finale like this is something we can all be very proud of," Hans-Peter Kemser, the director of the factory, said.
Gallery: BMW i8 Final 18 Examples
Many of the customers for these final vehicles belonged to the BMW i8 Club International. Some of these members were present when the vehicles rolled off the assembly line.
The final vehicle of the production run was an i8 Roadster in Portimao Blue. Over the six-year production run, BMW built around 20,500 examples of the i8.
While the i8 wasn't a massive sales success, it's future on the second-hand market could be fascinating. The relatively low production run, eye-catching appearance, and brisk performance might be a recipe for a future collector's item. With production beginning in 2018, there are even fewer units of the i8 Roadster versus the coupe out there.
There's no sign of BMW replacing the i8 with another hybrid sports car on a dedicated chassis. However, the brand is rapidly adding plug-in-hybrid models to the lineup. Just in 2020, there's the introduction of the 330e, X2 xDrive25e, and X5 xDrive45e. Even more PHEVs and EVs are on the way because of stricter emissions rules forcing the company to build cleaner powertrains.
Final 18 BMW i8 cars leave Plant Leipzig.
25.06.2020 Press Release
BMW Group Plant Leipzig and customers mark the end of an era
18 unique BMW i8 Roadsters
High-level customisation requires production and process expertise
Leipzig. Austin Yellow. British Racing Green. Le Mans Blue. The last 18 BMW i8 vehicles left BMW Group Plant Leipzig today as their future owners looked on. Each car was a one-off created in close collaboration with the customer. “The degree of customisation in these vehicles threw up some major logistical and process challenges,” said Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser. “But our i production unit has proved yet again that nothing is impossible.”
Manufacturing a BMW i8 is in itself a feat of modern automotive construction, owing to the vehicle concept, drive technology, and unique mix of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and aluminium. But the final 18 special models presented the i8 production team with particular challenges on top: each one was finished in a paintwork colour that had previously not been applied to the outer skin components of a BMW i8. Painting such a large number of exterior parts in the specified colour made production and logistics far more complex. Manufactured and painted virtually by hand by a range of suppliers and at BMW Group Plant Landshut, the challenge lay in getting the components to the production line in full premium quality. And with each part being the only one of this colour in existence and highly complex to reproduce, the utmost care and precision were required in logistics and throughout series vehicle production.
“Yet again, we have proved our ability to meet the highly discerning standards and personal specifications of our customers with unique solutions and unparalleled skill,” said Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser. “For BMW i8 production to end with a finale like this is something we can all be very proud of.” The final vehicles also have customised components in their interiors, such as Alcantara covers for seats and steering wheels, and special trim strips and fascia panels.
The customers in Plant Leipzig today – some of whom were members of the BMW i8 Club International – were on location to see their vehicles leave the factory gates and be handed over to vehicle logistics. Claus-Dieter Bachmann, President of the BMW i8 Club, described the day at the plant as a “highlight for our club members”. The unique vehicles, he said, are the “dream cars” of their future owners, adding: “The BMW Group and Plant Leipzig have enabled something truly outstanding.”