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The BMW i8 is set to receive a mid-life facelift, which includes a significant amount of changes that extend beyond just its looks. According to Autocar UK, this includes an upgraded hybrid powertrain that is undergoing testing on roadgoing prototypes, as well as the latest version of the i8-based safety cars seen at Formula E races.

Although no details have surfaced on the revised powertrain, it is suggested that a more powerful electric motor will be fitted, replacing the 131 hp and 250 Nm unit found in the current i8. The 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine should also get a few tweaks for more output. Put both together, and you’re probably looking at around 420 hp from the system.

New software mapping for the i8’s six-speed automatic gearbox should also provide performance gains that improve upon the current model’s 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds, with a limited top speed of 250 km/h.

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Supporting the hybrid powertrain – more specifically its electric motor, could be an uprated lithium-ion battery pack. Recently, BMW unveiled the new i3 that receives a more energy-dense battery pack, bolstering its all-electric range. It makes sense that the technology trickles its way to the i8 as well. BMW has stated that the i8-based Formula E safety cars use a larger 10 kWh battery compared to the standard car’s 7.1 kWh.

Should that be a similar case for the new i8, it will certainly help increase the range of the hybrid sports car. Additionally, the denser battery pack wouldn’t need to take up additional space in the car, retaining its original dimensions. The current i8’s batteries are mounted inside the centre carbon-fibre tunnel.

Charging the batteries of the new i8 might be done through an inductive charging system rather than using the conventional cable. With technology developed by Qualcomm, inductive vehicle charging uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad connected to the high-voltage electrical system and a collector fitted under the i8.

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As for the chassis improvements, the Formula E safety cars adopt a different suspension setup compared to the current i8. Modified upper wishbones and mounting points, revised springs and dampers and a lower ride height of 15 mm on the safety cars could very well be adopted by the facelifted model as well.

Said safety cars also get 20-inch alloys wrapped with 245/35 front and 285/30 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. Carbon-fibre wheels might also been an area of interest for the new i8, although the weight-saving gains might be outweighed by the cost of such options.

No mention on the official reveal date of the facelifted i8 coupe, but it will likely be introduced alongside the highly anticipated i8 Spyder (roadster) in 2018, which was confirmed by BMW CEO Harald Krueger during the company’s Annual Accounts Press Conference in Munich in March 2016.