BMW is working on a luxury flagship based on its BMW i8 Roadster, a plug-in hybrid sports car. We know this because the company's CEO revealed the news during a shareholding meeting. Harald Krueger said BMW's upcoming autonomous car will be an electric vehicle called i Next. He also said that it will launch in 2021. Keep in mind several automakers have targeted the 2020s as a launch window for their self-driving automobiles.
Here's what Krueger said, specifically:
"In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i NEXT, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road."
The CEO didn't provide any other details, but we can assume i Next will also include some features from the Vision Next 100 concept car. To commemorate its 100 years of existence earlier this year, BMW showed off a glimpse of the future of driving with Vision Next 100. It's a showcase of everything that is coming to BMW vehicles, including self-driving functionality and a smart-learning AI called Companion.
Materials on the Vision Next 100 ranged from carbon fibre for the shell to recycled or renewable fabrics for the inside, meaning the car is much more sustainable than existing cars that use materials like leather and wood. It's unclear if BMW i Next will be more like the i8 Roadster or Vision Next 100, but one thing is for sure: BMW can go ahead and take our money now.