Back in October I posted what was a leaked photo of the i8 key. It looks significantly less impressive now.
There has been scuttlebutt the past couple of months that a lot of the promise of the i8, at least in terms of features/content, is being rapidly cut back in scope to get the car onto market as soon as possible. All indications are the i8 is COMING IN HOT. We're talking levels of hot usually reserved for cutting edge tech launches (refer to articles about the event where Jobs unveiled the original iPhone), which is appropriate considering what they are trying to do. But this is unusual for a car launch.
BMW still maintains that i8's are scheduled to hit US shores and be in customer hands by July. Which seems a little optimistic because it is the middle of April and they don't have order guides and no US dealer has been given a build spot. That's 11 weeks until July. BMW dealers say it takes between 8-12 weeks to get a custom order from allocation to delivery and that's with mass production, volume cars. So they are cutting it CLOSE. German market and UK demo cars are supposed to start deliveries in June and there is some indication that order banks are starting to show cars for those countries. Strangely, those countries did have options guides earlier in the year that have since been pulled, features removed, and customers are being told things like laser headlights are only available on cars produced after Nov-14 and that things like the "Display Key" have been cut completely, at least for launch.
I guess it's appropriate that the i8, a car unlike any BMW has yet produced, would have a launch unlike any BMW yet produced. The absolute silence from BMW about things like options, pricing, and delivery dates since the initial announcement in September 2013 makes more sense when you start getting a glimpse of how "straight out of the oven" a car that's been in development for 3+ years appears to be. I've been hoping the lack of information and "mystery" surrounding the i8 was due to some grand marketing strategy...but it appears to be them staying quiet about a car that might need more time to "cook." If they do push it out the door in July without things like the display key and other features, I hope they take a page from McLaren and Tesla by offering free updates and upgrades to existing customers. Unless they come out and say those things are coming, but won't be available of early adopters...I might pass the first round to someone else and buy it after they get a chance to finish it. Which is really disappointing considering my excitement for the i8 is greater than any other car up to this point.
Of course, they could always pull an Apple and get the whole thing working as intended as it flies out the door. Everything I've written becoming rumor busted. I sincerely hope that's the case but time will tell...and there's not much of it left.