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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Alpina confirms it was developing a powerful BMW i8

The single prototype made produced 340kW/700Nm.

Famed BMW tuner Alpina has revealed that it had been developing a more powerful version of the now discontinued i8 that very nearly entered production.

In an interview with the BMW Blog, Alpina CEO Andreas Bovensiepen confirmed that a prototype had been made with not only a new aluminium subframe, wider tyres, flared wheel arches and upgraded cooling, but also more power. In place of the standard i8’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged, Alpina fitted the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the current 135i, which, in conjunction with the electric motor, produced 340kW/700Nm instead of 266kW/570Nm.

The bigger engine and inclusion of two additional intercoolers also resulted in the six-speed automatic gearbox being dropped in favour of an eight-speed self-shifter, which required the fitting of a dedicated intercooler of its own. Like the 135i though, and the conventional i8, the new amount of twist still went to all four corners.

Along with the engine and revised subframe, the Alpina i8 tipped the scales at roughly 100 kg more than the conventional model and also sported increased negative chamber but an unmodified carbon fibre chassis which was considered capable enough of handling the extra grunt without modifications needed.

According to Bovensiepen though, the project eventually got shelved not only as a result of costs versus those of the standard i8, but also safety as the prototype’s tuning was judged unfavourable for crash testing, resulting in it being scrapped and the prospects of an Alpina i8 becoming reduced to nothing.

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